Opportunities for first-gen students

Mt. A has a variety of resources available to first-generation students. Students who are first generation (first-gen) are those whose parents did not attend a college or university. On campus, students can get involved with the ‘First-Gen Den,’ which is a group entirely run by students. Mt. A also offers first-gen programming, which is organized by Cynthia Dyck.

“When first-gen students come to university, they can feel like people are ahead of them” in the academic sphere, says Dyck.

Abby Daley, a fourth-year Psychology honours student explains her positive experience with the First-Gen Den. “I have made lifelong friendships and found a community of students who understand and share my experiences,” says Daley, the group’s President.

Students can now register for the first-gen professional development program, in which they have the opportunity to win a $500 bursary. The program was organized in collaboration with experiential learning and is aimed at helping students “get familiar with resources on campus,” explains Dyck.

The program also consists of financial literacy workshops that provide information regarding student loans, debt, lines of credit, and budgeting. Dyck says that this program is not only beneficial to first-gen students, but also those who are low-income.

Another resource available to first-gen students is the mentorship program. This program pairs students with Mt. A alumni and faculty with “the goal [of connecting] students to people in their desired career field,” says Dyck. “First-gen students are in a new industry and don’t have family connections,” she continues. The mentorship program provides students with connections and career options. 

The ‘Dress to Impress: Professional Closet’ is another resource that will soon be made available to students. Brianna Green, the first generation student post-grad intern, has been organizing this program and explains that it will be “a resource that provides students with professional clothing”. Green explains that students who attend the program can keep various clothing items or return them to various donation bins on campus.

Students will be able to access items such as shoes, ties, and many other donated items. 

Green explains that this resource is beneficial because “professional clothing isn’t always accessible” and many students are in need of various clothing items for internships, headshots, and job interviews. 

Green was inspired by her own experience to organize the ‘Dress to Impress’ program. “I was in a Bachelor of Music, and I always needed professional clothing for concerts and I didn’t have a car or much professional clothing.” Green said: “I would have loved to have this resource.”

The event will be held in the chapel, but more information regarding the ‘Dress to Impress’ event will be released on February 1. 

On-campus resources provided by first-gen programming are deemed to be rewarding. “It has provided me with countless opportunities and has allowed me to flourish as a young professional and a person,” Daley concludes.

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