First Generation Student Credits Family and MCC Resources
It’s often a challenge to be a first-generation college student. Coming from a family without a college-going tradition can bring additional challenges and open the door for participation in supportive groups or programs.
Mesa Community College student Amanda Camacho, a 21-year-old resident of Tempe, has experienced firsthand the ups and downs of college life as a first-generation student.
“I think one of the main challenges I faced as a first-generation student was being able to stay in school and still support my family,” Camacho said. “Being a work-study student has helped me cope because I was able to get by and still do my coursework.”
The Federal Work-Study program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student's course of study.
Camacho, an English (creative writing) major, said her math classes presented her with another challenge. For assistance, she turned to the MCC Math Foundation Center. The center’s tutoring lab is open 44 hours each week and is available to students on a walk-in basis.
The computer lab is staffed with assistants who troubleshoot computer problems and ensure that students using the computers are helped by tutors for the online portions of their math class.
“I don't think I would have done as well without the tutors at the center,” Camacho said. “Don Hostetler is a tutor, and he helped me out tremendously.”
This May, Camacho receives her Associate in Arts from MCC. She is transferring to Arizona State University to pursue her bachelor’s degree in English and a secondary education certificate.
“My experience at MCC has been a huge learning process and transition,” Camacho said. “My main supporter will always be my mom. She has been there for me these past three years, and I will forever be grateful and blessed.”
What is her recommendation for other students?
“My advice for first-generation students is to keep working hard, because if you really want something, then you have to put an effort into it,” Camacho said.