Being the First in the Family to go to University – OurWarwick
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Being the First in the Family to go to University

Now I’m home and surrounded by my family, it has made me realise that I am the first from my family to go to university and I thought I would reflect a little on why that is and how it has influenced my journey to Warwick.

My mother is a very intelligent and savvy woman who, after getting her O-levels, decided to run off and join the circus at the age of 16 to see the world and experience a life full of excitement, change and fun. She then met my father, who has always worked as a groundworker, bricklayer and digger driver so he has always grafted hard to provide for my family. After I was born, my mum became a full time housewife and now does some part time work as a cleaner at a B&B while my younger brother is at school.

I think that in their generation, university wasn’t really a viable option for many working-class families and we are now in an era where it is much easier for people like me to go to university, but with rising tuition fees and the cutting of grants in the pipeline, I fear that it may soon be harder for working-class families once again.

Seeing how much we struggled as a family to make money, I often sacrificed going on school trips and getting new school clothes, shoes and stationary when I needed it and I wanted to do well in school so that I could go to university and get a degree that would hopefully help me to make a good living for myself and my family in the future.

I also wanted to make my parents proud and to make sure all that they have done for me over the years in supporting me and providing for me wasn’t in vain. As well as this, I knew that to get a good job in the creative and arts sector is particularly difficult, even with a degree from a renowned university so I had to give myself the best shot at it if I wanted to succeed.

I think that coming from a working-class background makes it slightly harder to integrate into university life, especially at Warwick where we have so much multicultural diversity in terms of students and we have many foreign students who often come from wealthy families so it can be weird to see how the other half live sometimes. It also means that I couldn’t get any advice from my parents about what to expect or how much more difficult it would be but I think that made me closer to my housemates and the friends I made in my first year so you soon settle in once you’ve had your first few weeks.

So all in all, don’t be scared if you’re first in your family to make it to university because they will already be so proud of you and you have the opportunity to make your life whatever you want it to be because everyone at university has deserved to be there no matter what background, race, religion or culture you have so don’t let anyone or anything stop you from reaching your goals!

Thanks for reading,

Kristie

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