Hello Class of 2022! We are Guadalupe Torres and Alejandro Wences! We are the co-heads of an affinity group on campus for first-generation college students called Ford’s Firsts. Ford’s Firsts is just one of the many organization that strives to facilitate your success and sense of belonging on this campus.
We realized many of the obstacles first gens and/or low-income students face in educational institutions begins even before starting college and continues through, especially when one does not have institutional or community support. Many of us on campus stumble with Haverford’s “hidden curriculum” and can get lost through the hoops of it without reaching for help from others. You may find organizations like Questbridge, Horizons, Chesicks, and the Multicultural Scholars Program helpful who can help to make the transition easier for you.
It’s hard to find words that encompass all of our experiences being a first-generation college student on Haverford’s campus. However, we feel that one way that it can be is the difficulty in navigating the college environment, with many of our parents not being able to answer the questions for us. There are a lot of things, sometimes called “the hidden curriculum”, that we just aren’t made aware of coming in: the value in office hours, the necessity in being in contact with your dean (and how they can help), appropriate ways to act with your professors, climbing the social ladder in your field, and a lot more. Yes, we could google it but it’s hard to do so when you don’t know what to google. We found that once we were able to establish communities at Haverford, especially with those who are older and also share similar identities as us, we then found out about hidden resources scattered around Haverford, which we then tailored to our own needs. It is thanks to these communities that we’re now more able to thrive on Haverford’s campus.
What we wanted to do, though, was bring all that information into one centralized place. After looking at what other colleges were doing, we came up with the idea for a guide. There are topics around the Ford experience, academics, finances, study abroad, self-care, and a lot more! It’s big, though, and more things will always need to be added into it as it is a living document. That is why this is only Part 1, with Part 2 coming this fall. We believe that it talks about the information that you may need during your first-semester here at Haverford.
The following google form is to sign up for the Ford’s Firsts and Low-Income Guide. It was written by 16 other first-gen students (many of whom are low-income) over the year. However, many of these same students have included personal testimonies on their first-generation experiences. We wish to keep the anonymity of these writers and share it with those who would be more likely to understand their testimonies. That is why we ask the first-gen and/or low-income community at Haverford to sign up through the link below. We will send out the guide one week from today and continue to send it as more students sign up through the link below.