first gen

As if college wasn’t already hard enough, I think it’s ten times harder as a first-generation student. With so much stress from parents expecting the best and also stress from trying to do the absolute best that sometimes doesn’t pay off that way, it’s hard to feel like I can breathe sometimes when it just feels like I’m drowning.

This past week has probably been one of the most stressful because of all of the work that piled up. In the first two days of the week, I had homework assignments due consecutively which took quite a bit of time, and two midterms following that. Sure, I got through it fine, although my brain is fried and I really can’t relax yet because I have another midterm coming, but this time, it just felt different from every other midterm I’ve taken. I’ve constantly been pushed to my limits and forced to challenge myself, which has been a good way to build character, but sometimes I wish that people just got it, just understood.

Every time I talk to my parents about college and how I’m doing, they tell me to “not stress out so much,” but at the same time, I think, how do they have the audacity to tell me this when they have absolutely no idea how it feels like? Yes, I knew going to a top institution for school was going to be a challenge, but it feels like no one supports me. I thought that coming home this weekend would be a nice break, but in fact, it’s made the situation even worse, because my parents are just expecting me to drop everything because school isn’t that hard, but in reality, it is. It’s much harder than they think it is, and I understand that they’ve also had hardships, but it’s so difficult to be on the same page when they have no clue how I’m feeling.

They don’t understand when I just want time to myself, or want to sleep in. They don’t understand the difficulties that I’ve been through, no matter how hard I describe it to them. It’s just different. Our experiences are different, and I genuinely wish they could relate. Being a first generation college student is incredibly difficult because of the barrier between what we’re going through and who we’re supposed to be getting support from. But how is it support when it’s just words of encouragement with no meaning behind it? These crazy expectations are set up for us, ones from our parents that expect the best, but little do they know how difficult it is to succeed in such a large pool of people with the same, and if not, higher level of intellect.

I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling perpetually tired and working so hard to just be insulted at the end, or have someone tell me that it’ll all get better. In those moments, that’s the last thing I’m thinking about. I just want someone to get it, to understand how I’m feeling. But instead, I’m met with ridiculous statements about how I’m acting, how I’m not good enough, and how I could do better. And more than anything, I just wish someone got it. For once. My struggles are not the same ones that my parents go through, and I just wish that they would stop prioritizing their concerns over mine, basically making me feel invalidated for how I’m feeling.