First One In

First One In

Kane Emerson, Staff Writer

As a freshman at UNE, it has been refreshing and terrifying at the same time. Refreshing in that this is the first step in becoming an adult. Having the freedom to express and explore without the eyes and ears of your parents or guardians. That is also the terrifying part, becoming an adult without supervision. What’s more terrifying in my case is when you’re the first in your family to pursue medical school. After being here for nearly half a semester and meeting a lot of people from different backgrounds. I have come to realize many students are the first of their families to attend college. I can’t imagine what it must be like.

Being the first has a lot of unknown pressures that nobody seems to be aware of. Like most of us here on campus. Growing up being the oldest or even just having younger siblings. You have a sense of being a role model for them. Either because you love them, or you don’t want to be outdone by your younger siblings. You play a role in what being a mature adult is. That’s the catch though, being the first for many things in my life such as school, driver’s license, job, and other life-changing decisions. It gives my younger siblings an example of what and what not to do. In many ways, they do better because they have an understanding of what I did wrong or right.

Being a role model is one pressure, acting as the guinea pig is another. Growing up as the oldest, my parents would throw ideas and concepts at me hoping one sticks. I’m still experimenting with myself in the same way. Like many others here on campus, I’m trying new avenues of my life that I haven’t had any lessons on. By joining clubs such as Pre-Pharmacy, Nor’easter News, EMS club, and the Habitat for Humanity club. I’m dipping my toes in areas I have no reference on. I have also had to change my major not once, but twice so far since the spring orientations. The only saving grace is that UNE makes this process easy and the advisors here are essentially like parents. They provide helpful examples of how to work through college and pressure you to try new things and go to school events.

Working through college is hard, balancing your academic life with your social life is a challenge. The last pressure of being the first or the oldest is that it comes with high standards. Therefore, the college experience feels terrifying regarding the pressure of failing or letting your family down somehow. This has been the case for my college career so far and most likely many of my peers believe the same. This, however, has pushed my personal goals much greater than if I wasn’t put on such a pedestal. Being here on campus has shown me that I’m not alone when it comes to being the first, nor should any other student feel that way. The student body here is filled with hard-working students and faculty alike.

With these pressures comes motivation to do well in school. Being first is not a bad thing, in fact, it can be the greatest thing. Pushing yourself to the limit and exploring without direction can be the most rewarding. With the help of the academic advisers and SASCA, UNE has helped my transition of being first of my family to pursue medicine an easier and if not a fun experience. Being first to go to college or the first to pursue medicine in your family should be scary, but most importantly, it should be fun and exciting.