Shelly Meron (Stevenson '05, History with a Minor in Journalism)

photo of shelly meron smiling in a purple blouse

Background: I immigrated with my family to the U.S. when I was 11 and did not speak any English at the time. I spent middle and high school in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What motivated me to go to college: I wanted to pursue my passion as a writer, meet new people, and prepare for the job market.

What's the biggest challenge you encountered as a first-gen student and how did you overcome it?: No one in my family had attended college before, and I attended a large public high school with few support resources. Navigating the college preparation and application process was foreign to me and my family. Luckily, I ended up at a great campus!

How has your background helped you?:  The immigration experience taught me to cope with new and unfamiliar situations. Since my family did not have the opportunity to go to college, I was extra motivated to work hard and succeed academically and professionally.

What would you tell my first-year self now?: Be bold. Take risks. Enroll in classes you don't necessarily think you're interested in. Get involved with programs that force you out of your comfort zone. College is a time to try different things, and it's ok to fail as you learn.

What was the best thing about your college experience?:  I got to take great classes and meet lifelong friends in one of the most beautiful places in the country.

How being a first-generation student has influenced me: I want to help other first-gen students who may be new to the college experience. I want them to know that they are not alone, that they belong at UCSC, and that they can succeed.