First-Generation Experience with Gage

Segment #6 from The University of Memphis


Meet Gage, a sophomore history major from Mount Juliet, Tennessee. As the first in his family to attend college, Gage sheds light on the unique challenges faced by first generation students. The University of Memphis provides resources exclusively for first-gen students, including scholarships, mentorship, and specialized programming to empower student success. Tell us more, Gage.

– Thanks Alex. I’m a true Tennesseean through and through. I was born in Knoxville, raised in Nashville, and now I go to school in Memphis. Choosing the University of Memphis was a no-brainer for me. Incredible culture, the amazing barbecue, and the first generation scholarship sealed the deal for me. Before diving into my Freshman year, I found myself wrestling with the unknown. Luckily, as a recipient of the first generation scholarship, I was required to attend some events and activities that helped me feel more comfortable as the semester started. I attended Frosh Camp, the University of Memphis’ student led orientation program where I met my roommate and a couple fellow first scholars. The University of Memphis also offers the first-gen retreat that allowed me to connect with other first generation scholarship students who have become like friends and family to me. The retreat brought us closer and also allowed me to meet the first generation staff who have become such a strong part of my support system at the U of M. Like a significant number of students at the U of M, I’m first generation. This means that many of our students’ parents didn’t attend or even graduate from college. Our campus houses an acclaimed first generation program that supports all first-gen students inside and outside the classroom with workshops, opportunities, and many more events. I serve as a peer mentor, offering assistance to other first generation students, FAFSA, and academics. There are also events including the Career Closet that provide free professional attire to students and Tie-It Tuesday where attendees can improve their tying skills. The support and community makes a huge difference, and I’m glad to go to the University of Memphis. Back to you, Alex.

– Gage, thank you for sharing your journey as a first generation student and the insight around the support provided by the University of Memphis. The U of M offers resources for all students, but the intentional initiatives that empower first-gen students can help them reach their full potential and overcome unique challenges. Thanks again.

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