When Karime Rincon started her college search, she found the welcoming environment she craved at St. Francis College.
Karime, a first-generation college student, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants who always stressed to her the importance of education to advancing one's life. Emboldened by their encouragement, she is now the first in her family to embark on a path towards a college degree.
Karime spoke about her experiences as first-generation student and what she hopes to achieve with her college degree.
What motivated you to attend college?
It started from when I was young. My parents immigrated here about 20 years ago from Mexico. And ever since then, they've always pushed me to get an education. They wanted me to have a better life than they did. I had a lot of conversations with my parents about everything they've sacrificed, and they make it obvious that they want more for me.
My parents and my grandparents always reassured me that whatever I wanted to do, they were going to help me. I always felt that security of knowing if I wanted to go to college, I had the opportunity.
Why did you choose St. Francis College?
I visited St. Francis when I was a junior in high school, and my parents and I fell in love with it. I felt I could really make connections with the faculty and students. It was very welcoming.
What's the environment like at SFC for first generation students?
It's always felt welcoming. I've met a good number of other students who are also first generation, through clubs and programs that I've been involved with. I found that the school is very encouraging in hearing what students of first-generation families have to say, what their experiences are like.
My parents don't know the college system and how it works here in the United States. I had to learn on my own. St. Francis allowed me to connect with others from first-generation families who were also having to adapt to something we weren't really used to.
What are your dreams for yourself, your family and community?
My career goal is to become a neuropsychologist and be able to conduct research for well-known colleges or laboratories, as well as provide psychiatric therapy for patients. I feel like with the master's program and the supportive psychology department at St. Francis, I have opportunities available to me. I know that I can rely on the psychology faculty for internships or recommendations. I've gotten to know them very well, and they are a good resource for me.
For my family, having a college degree will create new paths for future generations so they may also pursue degrees. I feel like having a degree will open opportunities for me that my parents didn't have back in Mexico.
For my community, showing people of color that just because you're from a marginalized group doesn't mean you can't achieve your goals. I want to be a role model and show that even though it may be hard at first, it is possible to get a degree and get a job you enjoy that provides for you.