Last summer, Drew*, who was 3,000 miles away at Franklin and Marshall College, texted to tell me he was homesick. I knew this feeling well, as I am a first generation college student who chose to leave my home in Los Angeles to attend a college on the other side of the country.
Drew, a rising 12th grader at the time, never considered going away for college. As his counselor, I wanted him to have more information and experiences before he and I created the list of colleges he would apply to in the fall. I suggested he attend Franklin and Marshall College’s Pre-College Program. Through the program, he spent three weeks in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, living on campus and taking college courses taught by college professors. Spending the summer on the East Coast not only opened his eyes to a new world of options, but more importantly, it gave him the opportunity to learn he is capable of going away and standing on his own two feet. His last week on campus, he sent me a very different text message: “ F&M was great! I can see myself as a student here.” Knowing I had a part in expanding his horizons is what motivates me to continue my work as the College Access and Success Counselor.
* Students’ names have been changed in the interest of privacy.