In my opinion, someone’s life experience can only be defined by the person living that experience. As a psychologist, I firmly believe that each person is the expert on their own life. While the national TRIO program officially defines first generation college students as individuals raised by parents who did not complete a baccalaureate degree, I am not asking my guests to meet certain criteria or check off a certain number of boxes to be considered for the podcast. My only requirement is that they consider themselves first generation college students and/or first generation professionals. I am leaving the definition intentionally ambiguous because I will have access to a wider range of stories that better reflect reality. You will hear from people who had one parent with a college education, parents with no college education but successful careers, people with siblings or cousins who went to college before them, those with parents who only had a primary school education, those with parents who attended university in countries outside the U.S., and those whose parents went back to school later in life. You will also hear from people who received Associates degrees, those who had a few years of college but didn’t finish, those who went to the military and then college, and those who received graduate degrees. Real life is much more varied and interesting than we are led to believe and all of these stories deserve to be told. In the end, the definition of something isn’t as important as connecting to the experience. My hope is that you will be able to relate to and connect with the stories of all the guests brave enough to share their First Gen Journey.

A note about my guests and defining success