Wichita State University is home to nearly 5,000 first-generation students, individuals whose caregivers weren't able to complete a college degree and who lack the firsthand experience to tackle college life. To help with their transition, Wichita State offers a number of resources to first-gen students to support them during their time in college, including F1RST GEN SHOCKERS.
Hear from Eduardo Avila, a current first-gen student at Wichita State, about his first-gen experience.
I am from San Bernardino, California and grew up in the suburb of Colton, California. Although I really do love the climate and nature in California, I consider Liberal, Kansas my home now after my family moved there after my third-grade year. I graduated from Liberal High School in 2020.
I am a human resource management major in my fourth year of college. I switched majors from history education last spring.
How does it feel to be the first member of your family to attend college?
I feel very lucky to be able to attend school as it is my dad’s wish that I get an education and be financially secure. He doesn't want me to break down my body as he does almost every day working for an agriculture firm. I have enjoyed getting to meet some very friendly people on campus who support me in my career goals, and these bonds that I have established have been very valuable to me. Although I am grateful to be where I am now, I also feel loneliness and guilt most days being away from home and being able to attend school on a scholarship when I wish my older brother had the same opportunity.
What support have you received as a first-gen student?
As a first-gen student, I have received support through many of the programs I have participated in on campus. I am a member of the McNair Scholars Program, which is also a part of the federal TRIO programs. Its goal is to prepare underrepresented groups in academia, such as first-gen students, for graduate school. I have also participated in Latinos Lead, which has taught me many professional skills that strengthen myself and my potential.
What piece of advice would you share with incoming first-gen college students?
Know and utilize your resources on campus. There are plenty of students who struggle during their first year, and you are not alone. Meet with your professors, advisors and success coaches to make sure you are on the right path to success. Utilize the math lab, GEEKS and the writing center to get the help you need early rather than later.
What do you hope to do after you graduate from Wichita State?
I hope to continue my career in human resource management or educational leadership in graduate school if I am able to secure funding. I would like to stay in Wichita or return home to Liberal where my family is.
About Wichita State University
Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling more than 23,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.
Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.
The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.