First-Gen Undergrad: Eyra Gonzalez (College Ten '18 Environmental Studies)

photo of eyra gonzalez smiling in striped blouse with colorful backgroundI came to the United States at the age of nine from El Salvador and lived in San Francisco since then. For 10 years I lived in the Mission District. I attended Mission High School where I was involved in community service events and sports! In the future, I hope to get involved in humanitarian issues in El Salvador and open up my own animal shelter for stray dogs.

What motivated me to go to college: My family and the many programs I attended in high school influenced me to go to college. I’m DACAmented and low-income so to better my life I had to pursue higher education. In a way, I had all of the disadvantages require to succeed. I had to work twice as hard with little guidance but with a great amount of motivation.

How my background has helped me: At the age of nine, I started helping my mom cleaning houses and apartments in San Francisco. This was her way of reminding me why I had to go to college. My parents always had labor-intensive jobs and I knew how had hard they worked for their money. I never took anything for granted.

What would I tell my high-school self about the college experience: I would tell my high-school self, libraries are your friend and to attend more events on-campus for resources and food :)

The best thing so far about my college experience is: I believe just being involved in organizations and clubs around campus helped me get out of my comfort zone and meet more people. The best thing about my college experience is meeting people that truly care about you and make sure that you're okay.

How being a first-generation student has influenced me: As a first-generation student and also as an older sister and “role model” for my younger cousins, I took the responsibility to go to college for the first time and hope to later guide them in their college path. First-generation students are breaking many obstacles to get where they are now. They are the best stories for success and perseverance.