Rewriting The Narrative: From “First-Gen” To “Pioneer”

When people think of “first-generation students,” certain stereotypes and narratives come to mind. For many, the image of a first-gen student is one of someone struggling to keep up, juggling school with a full-time job and family obligations. This isn’t an accurate portrayal of first-gen people, who are just as capable as their peers. In fact, many first-gen doers (in any field) achieve great things. 

If being a first-gen resident, student, professional, or investor is holding you back, it’s time to turn that narrative around and embrace your true potential. I felt empowered and more accepting when I decided to accept my true roots and be proud of them. If you want to experience the same things, stick around a little longer while I explain how changing the narrative is the stepping stone to every incredible thing! 

The Negative Narrative Around First-Gen Students

There’s no denying that being a first-gen in any walk of life comes with challenges. For example, there’s the financial burden associated with being the first generation in a new country or field. Many first-gen students are the first in their families to attend college, so they don’t have the same financial resources as their peers. 


Then, there’s the emotional toll. Being the first in your family to attend college can be a daunting experience. You might feel like you’re not cut out for college life or that you’re not doing your family proud. Likewise, there’s the time commitment. First-gen students often have to balance school with a full-time job and other obligations. 


Despite all of these challenges, first-gen students persevere. In fact, many go on to do great things. These successful pioneers have one thing in common: they all overcame the negative narratives associated with being a first-gen student. They proved that first-gen students are just as capable as their peers, if not more so. 


If you’re a first-generation student, know that you’re not alone. There are millions in the same situation as you. And know this too: you have the potential to achieve greatness, so don’t let anyone tell you that being a first-gen student is a disadvantage—rewrite the narrative and prove them wrong. 

Why Am I Rewriting My Life’s Narrative?


I was born into a family of immigrants. My mother and father came to this country with nothing but a dream of a better life. They worked hard to give my sister and me everything we could ever want or need, instilling in us the importance of education. Because they were first-generation Americans, they made sure we took advantage of every opportunity that came our way. In their eyes, we could be anything we wanted—and I wanted to be a pioneer.

First-Generation Struggles

Though my parents did everything they could to set me up for success, I still faced challenges as a first-generation student. I was often one of the only kids of color in my classes, and I didn’t always have the same level of access to resources as my classmates. While they were getting tutored by their parents or older siblings, I worked two jobs to help my family make ends meet. And when it came time to apply to colleges, I had to do it all alone because my parents didn’t have the experience or expertise to guide me through the process. 

Why I’m Rewriting My Narrative

Despite all the challenges I faced as a first-generation student, I persevered—and now I’m determined to rewrite the narrative about being a first-generation college graduate. Too often, students like me are seen as exceptions to the rule. We’re told that we’re not supposed to succeed because we come from disadvantaged backgrounds. But that’s not true. 


Millions of students like me are beating the odds and making their mark on the world. We’re proving that where you come from doesn’t have to dictate where you end up in life. We’re rewriting the narrative—one degree at a time. 

The Power of Being a Pioneer

In any walk of life, being labeled a “first-gen” can often make you feel out of place and like you have to prove yourself. But what if we instead embraced the power of being a pioneer? When we take control of ourselves and recognize our capabilities, we can begin to feel empowered and in control of where we use our energies. 


Today, at the age of 53, I am known for what I do instead of where I come from. But it wasn’t always this way. For most of my life, I felt out of place and like I had to continuously prove myself. It wasn’t until I took control of myself and realized my capabilities that things began to change. 


When we embrace the power of being a pioneer, we can feel more empowered and in control of our lives. We don’t have to conform to societal norms or expectations. We can forge our path and create our legacy. 


Being a pioneer instead means taking control of your life, embracing your uniqueness, and recognizing your capabilities to create your own legacy. It means being fearless and unafraid to forge your path in life. So go out there and be the pioneer you were meant to be!


How a Positive Mindset Can Clear Your Future

Your thoughts determine your actions and your results. If you’re constantly thinking about how you could fail, guess what? You’re more likely to take actions that lead to failure. On the other hand, if you focus on achieving success, you’ll be more likely to take the steps needed to make it happen. It all starts with your mindset.


Many of us allow our negative thoughts and emotions to control us. They dwell on past failures and let their fear of new challenges hold them back. As a result, they never reach their full potential. They stay in their comfort zone and never push themselves to achieve great things. But if you want to achieve something extraordinary, you need to get out of your comfort zone and pursue your goals with enthusiasm and determination—no matter how scared you might be. 

Tips for Developing a Positive Mindset 

If you want to change your life for the better, start by changing your mindset. Here are some tips for developing a positive outlook: 

  • Start each day with affirmative statements such as “I am healthy,” “I am happy,” or “I am successful.” This will help set the tone for the rest of the day and help you focus on achieving positive results. 
  • Make it a point to focus on the good things in your life, no matter how small they may seem. Take time to reflect on things that made you smile or feel grateful. This will help train your brain to look for the positive in every situation. 
  • Challenge yourself to see problems as opportunities for growth and learning instead of roadblocks keeping you from reaching your goals. Embrace challenges and view them as exciting opportunities to learn and grow instead of something to be afraid of. 
  • Be patient with yourself, and don’t expect overnight results. Change takes time, so be patient and persistent in Pursuing your goals. Remember that every small step forward is still progress. 
  • Seek advice from people who have achieved what you want to achieve. Learn from their mistakes and follow their example of success.

Rounding Up

It’s not easy changing your mindset and becoming a pioneer if you’ve been used to thinking negative thoughts for most of your life, but it’s worth it—and it’s possible. Start by taking small steps and being patient with yourself as you work on developing a more positive outlook. Over time, as you keep practicing these tips, you’ll find that positive thinking comes more naturally—and before long, you’ll start seeing some amazing results in your life!