Buckeyes First offers advice for first-generation college students

Buckeyes First was created to provide a year-round resource for first-generation students that can be accessed anytime. Credit: Courtesy of Alexandria Collins

As a first-generation student, Dalina Pomphengchane said she suffered from impostor syndrome when walking around campus because no one in her family went to college.

Buckeyes First addresses this sense of impostor syndrome by advocating for first-generation college students and serving as a resource for others across Ohio State.

“We wanted to create a student organization that supports students throughout the semester, throughout their college experience, so that they feel supported and not just supported at the start of the semester,” said Phomphengchane, a fourth-year student. strategic communication and founder. and president of the organization, said.

Phomphengchane said Buckeyes First expanded the university’s offerings for first-generation students, which included the ability to move in early and attend college workshops.

Ruth Zheng, a fourth-year environmental, economics, development and sustainability student and vice president of the organization, said Buckeyes First provides a sense of community while helping students grow professionally.

“We also offer career development and workshops to help students prepare for the job market, as well as different study workshops,” Zheng said. “Our meetings range from socials to game nights, mental health meetings, yoga, vision boards, painting.”

Zheng said Buckeyes First provides leadership and volunteer opportunities for those with little or no work experience. Phomphengchane said the organization also teaches first-generation students about the college experience and how to apply for financial aid.

“We have a workshop on how to fill it out correctly so that students can get the right amount of financial aid and know when not to take out a loan and when to take out loans and how to repay them,” Phomphengchane said.

Zheng said that as a first-generation Asian-American student, her role in Buckeyes First helped her become a leader and a strong advocate.

“It helps me expand my knowledge of other students’ different experiences, which also helps me advocate for their needs,” Zheng said.

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