, 11 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
I remember this feeling so distinctly when I started at @NorthwesternU.

Tho not #FirstGen, growing up in an impoverished rural area (WV) with not great schools, attending a highly selective school was a huge culture shock. 孝

politi.co/2FAIKOk
Although I did very well in the end, I had a very rough start. I was convinced my admission was a mistake.

The culture was completely foreign to me & I didnt begin to know how to navigate it. My parents had attended a very small, not selective LA school - not much help there./
I remember being overwhelmed by the level & speed of my classes and marveled at the other freshman who seemed to learn so much faster than I could - I later learned many had already taken the classes in private HS & but retook then to boost their GPA. 3/
My public HS chem course was covered in the first week leaving me scrambling to absorb completely new material while adjusting to a massively different world, w an undiagnosed learning disability, existing MH challenges, and a boyfriend undergoing cancer Tx back home. 4/
Given the context its no wonder I struggled.

I didnt understand the assistance sys for students, was far too intimidated to go to office hours, & when I finally reached out, a Dean told me I didnt have what it takes to be pre-Med.

I felt stupid & that I didnt belong.5/
Had it not been for an incredibly kind prof (Dr Taftlov) who was the faculty for my resident hall, I dont think I would have made it.

After I confided my struggles & intimidation, he personally walked me to office hours & introduced me to the prof. 6/
He humanized these towering figures by telling me Professors are just like you, just older and helped me understand that I didnt have to figure everything out on my own by teaching me the existing student support system.

My friends taught me the world of pvt school. 7/
It still took years (& the learning disability Dx/accom.) to really get my feet under me there, but I did and went from GPAs of 1/2s to 3.5/4s by the end.

I graduated w Honors in my major & won an award for Best Honors Thesis in Anthro.

I was accepted to @HarvardChanSPH. 8/
It was only much later that I was able to see how context & culture drove my struggles rather than my lack of smarts or ability.

Having this described at the beginning of college would have been HUGE for me & I imagine others from impoverished areas & #firstgen students. 9/
Im forever grateful for the support I eventually received at @NorthwesternU - which ended up being amazing.

I just wish I had started out with this understanding and support. It would have helped the #impostersyndrome & my mental health immensely!
All this is to say that kids from rural/low income areas (& prob urban/low income) also can have a cultural miss-match even if they are not #FirstGen or (by local definitions) low income / #BlueCollar themselves.

Its important they are considered as well.

/fin
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