In our “Ask Me Anything” series, we answer your burning questions about being a Bronco. First-generation college student Sydney Becker is here to share her wisdom and offer valuable advice to incoming Boise State students. Coming from Rocklin, California, Sydney is the first person from her family to go to a 4-year university. She is a senior majoring in Social Work and minoring in Psychology. Learn about building a successful support network, the significance of college orientation and the unique journey of first-gen students.
Tips for First-Generation College Students
As a first-generation college student, one of the biggest challenges can be knowing where to turn for advice and information. “Some tips I have for first generation college students would definitely be to take advantage of all the resources we have on campus.” Sydney advises. She encourages incoming students to ask questions, seek guidance from professors, advisors, and fellow students, and engage with the diverse range of resources available on campus. Establishing connections with peers through study groups and student organizations is another key aspect that Sydney emphasizes, as this sense of belonging can play a pivotal role in navigating the challenges of college life.
Some of her favorite resources include the Campus Food Pantry, a place for all students to have access to food and hygiene products, no questions asked. Need business attire? The JCPenney Suit Up Closet is located in the COBE building and is open to students.
Sydney also found her place in TRIO at Boise State, a program for students of all different backgrounds including first-generation students, financially limited college students and students with documented disabilities. TRIO offers academic assistance and encouragement for eligible students to help them achieve their four-year degree.
Building a Successful Support Network
The importance of a strong support network cannot be overstated, and Sydney delves into the art of creating one. Campus activities such as events, clubs, and organizations, all provide excellent opportunities to meet individuals who share similar interests.
“It’s super important that if you’re living on campus to go around your residence hall, knock on other people’s doors, introduce yourselves, as intimidating as it sounds.” Sydney underscores the value of forming relationships with professors, who can provide academic guidance, mentorship and even networking opportunities. Additionally, she encourages students to maintain connections with their family and friends, as their unwavering encouragement and understanding can offer a steady anchor during the ups and downs of college life.
What Happens At Orientation?
Orientation is a foundational step in setting the tone for a successful college journey. Sydney notes that students “are able to see what campus life looks like when they come to school in the Fall” and “gives them the opportunity to learn about different resources on campus, like our LGBTQIA+ community.” For students, it eases the often-daunting transition, helping to establish a sense of belonging and familiarity. Equally important, orientation offers a Family Orientation for a glimpse into the university’s support system, ensuring they feel confident and reassured as their students embark on this new chapter. Parents “get to learn about all the different campus partners, they get to see what resources are available to them”, including the financial aspects and ways to be involved in their child’s career.
One Thing Sydney Wishes She Knew Before College
When thinking back on her college experience and her first year at Boise State, Sydney states that “asking for help is okay, and it’s encouraged.” Boise State has many resources and there are always people willing to help, whether it’s professors, peers and upperclassmen, or advisors.