2020 Grads Talk College, Challenges, and What Comes Next
The organization Complete College America has been advocating for changes that help students finish their degrees. This year, in honor of the class of 2020, they highlighted 20 students from across the country, inviting them to make brief statements on topics such as their favorite memories, what their degrees mean to them, and what comes next.
When the students were asked about challenges they faced, some spoke about the unique hurdles that come with being a first-generation college student. María Guadalupe Romo-González, who graduated with a BA in Sociology from UC Berkeley stated, “As a first-generation college student, I quickly realized that my biggest challenge was not enrolling at a four-year institution but successfully “getting out” by graduating.” Other first-generation students spoke of imposter syndrome factoring in heavily, or the lack of a support system.
Many students agreed that the importance of getting their degree stemmed from their upbringing. Antoine Hunter, who holds an AA from Hostos Community College in Liberal Arts, spoke about it being important for him to have an education as he encouraged kids to have one in the communities he works with. Other students, like Breanna Bailey, who graduated with a BA in Biology from Dillard University, refer back to the environment they grew up in – a rural one, for Bailey – and the necessity of college to continue to pursue their career.
Of these 20 students, more than a few are continuing on to pursue more education. Hunter, for example, will be attending Yale in the fall to continue his studies. Nine in total specifically mentioned continuing their higher education journeys, coming to an impressive 45%. Others mentioned embarking into their career field or obtaining internships. Some students, such as Delshawn Fowler, plan to do both. He graduated with a BA in Biology from Harris-Stowe State University, and now plans to work in the pharmaceutical industry while pursuing his Master’s.
Though everyone earned either an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree, the schools they went to and what they majored in varies drastically, capturing the student experience from many different walks of life across America. From political science, to nursing, to sports communications, these students may be interested in different careers, but they have one important thing in common – the hard work that it took to complete their studies.
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