Beginners Guide To College for First Generation Haitian-American College Students

My parents migrated from Haiti in hopes of providing their children with a better life. They came into this country with nothing; they came into this country hoping for something.

I am of the first generation youth to be born in America and the first to attend college. I can not tell you how or what made me pursue college education. However,  I was encouraged to attend college under the notions that I would live and lead a better life. As they raised me, it was ingrained in my mental that receiving a college education was the end goal. And this, I achieved.

As I venture through the process of receiving a college education, I offer a beginners guide to college that explains how to pay for college and who can help you throughout your college career.

College Transition Programs

Prior to applying to college, early awareness is key. College transition programs encourage students to think about college and provides support services for students in need prior to entering college. These, often called Bridge Programs, vary by state, by high school, and by college. I encourage starting as early as your Junior year in High School and no later then the summer prior to the start of the Fall term.

Finding funding for college was out of sight and out of mind to my mother. She did not not tell me how I was going to afford my college education, she just told me I had to go. This was definitely due to her lack of knowledge on college, financial aid, scholarships, grants, and other sources of funding for my undergraduate education. Due to this lack of knowledge, it was my duty to educate her and myself.

How do you afford college?

Scholarships and Grants these words are used interchangeably and are need-based (based on a students financial need) forms of funding for college students. Also, they can be academic-base, athletic-base, or merit-base and are awarded based on those abilities.

They are offered by:

  • Government

The federal government offers the largest source of gifted aid. Usually, in the form of a Pell Grant known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

FAFSA is the first step to receiving majority of the grant or scholarship opportunities that are federally funded ad need-based. This federal program is used as a determinant of financial aid consideration. Information about you and your family is collected through an online application in order to determine your qualifying attributes.

The application typically opens October 1st, giving you time to apply any time after that. The application deadline is June 30th for the 2018-2019 academic year. It is recommended that you apply early to receive priority consideration.

  • Colleges

Though stricter in requirements, colleges offer grants and scholarships to attendees of the institution. These fundings are either merit-based, need-based, or combined. Be sure to check the institutions Financial aide page information of visit the financial aid office for more information on scholarships available to you based on your attributes (Transfer student, first generation, Haitian-descent, underrepresented group, etc).

  • Private Organizations

Many companies (i.e. McDonalds), foundations (i.e. the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), clubs, and community organizations (i.e. nonprofits or charities) offer grants or scholarships. Consider asking your employer if they offer tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement. Look into any club, foundation, or community organization that you are an active member of for assistance. Your parents employer may even offer assistance to their children as a form of external scholarship opportunities.

Loans are borrowed money that is expected to be repaid. Colleges, banks, and the government offers loan money to students with specific terms. Before considering loans from private institutions such as banks, exhausting Federal loans is the safest. This is due to the fact that Federal loans offer the most flexible repayment options compared with private loans.

*Rule of thumb, scholarships before loans.*

Who do you turn to for help?

Adult Advisors and Peer Mentors 

Because your parents are unaware of the opportunities available at universities not educational avenues you may pursue, finding an adult advisor or peer mentor will be beneficial.

Who can be an adult advisor or peer mentor?

An adult advisor can be your high school teacher, a guidance counselor, a professor, work supervisor/manager/director with college education, a pastor/priest, or a university/college faculty member to name a few.

A peer mentor is typically a college student who has already achieved what you are searching to succeed in college. Typically this individual is a Junior or Senior-standing student who has completed core coursework in your major of study or similar. Peer mentors are just as important as an adult advisor. Even though they have not achieved a Bachelors, they are further ahead in the process than someone who is an incoming-Freshman, Freshman, and Sophomore-standing.

While college may appear to be a challenge for first-generation students, it offers a variety of rewards. This serves as a guide to provide you with keys to your college funding and the individuals who can assist you along the way.

 

Side Chick Chronicles: Sub Rosa

Feature image by: Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

I am not one for secrets and believe my life should be an open-book test in the simplest class you have taken in your whole college career. Not only that, my life is pretty fucking interesting!

There was a period in time, of my life, where I had a huge crush on being loved by another person. We can blame it on the lack of expression of love from my parents throughout my childhood. Nevertheless, despite being heartbroken by an asshole, I was too in love to see that I was a side chick! 

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GASP! Shirley!

Sub-rosa! Its a secret! Well…

Fuck it!

I am letting it be known.

Continue reading “Side Chick Chronicles: Sub Rosa”

I Choose to be a “Slut”.

Feature image @awfulmadre via tumblr.

I did not get the chance to be promiscuous, what I consider “promiscuity”, when I was younger (despite the rumors your ears picked up). I kept my sexuality at a low by subjecting to long-term relationships. A serial monogamist. So, since the good ol’ day of losing my innocence,  I maintained long-term, monogamous, relationships. Until, someone broke my heart, again.

I was done! I was done with trying; I was over looking for “the man” to spend the rest of my life with. So, I accepted that I would be

Continue reading “I Choose to be a “Slut”.”

Friends with Benefits: The Bad

As Issac Newton says, for every force there is an . . . opposite force. Yes! I am applying Newton’s third law of motion to the foundation of your thriving, or not, Friend with Benefits (FWB) arrangement. All the physics enthusiasts, refrain from trying to refute my previous statement because I DO NOT CARE! Nevertheless, we perused the pros to pursuing a FWB. But, just as gravity, “what goes up, must come down”. So, it is only right that you know the cons of FWB.

Continue reading “Friends with Benefits: The Bad”

Late Night Sounds

So, I am one of the annoying snappers that waste your time. Majority of my snaps involve me mumming the words to songs because, let’s be honest, I have nothing better to snap. Anyways, I usually do this late at night while normal people pillow-talk with their bed.

During those hours I procure the finest of alternative Hip-Hop, R&B, and Soul tracks and mum my heart out in hopes to awaken my snappers to new sounds of alternative Hip-Hop, R&B, and Soul.

Hence, the Late Night Sounds Playlist.

Continue reading “Late Night Sounds”

Haitian men are so…

“Gason se chen/men are dogs” or “Gason se alimet, ti fi se gazolin/ Men are lighters, women are gas” -Mom


“Be careful who you date” she said; “ESPECIALLY HAITIAN MEN!” This was my first warning about dating Haitian men!

In general, relationships are complex. Choosing to date a man in your race or outside of your race adds to the complexity of a relationship. I’ve experienced both dating worlds and they are, in their entirety, different. And, dating a Haitian man is…wp-1489347406701.gif

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.. STRESSFUL, to say the least.

**Disclaimer**

Foremost, this is not a representation of an entire population. This is solely based on my experiences and opinions. Lastly, I am not writing to degrade Haitian men. I am simply noting what grinds my gears about Haitian men.

**End Disclaimer**

Continue reading “Haitian men are so…”

Friend With Benefits: The Good

A friend is someone you trust; someone who trusts you; someone you share history, circumstances, and mutual interests with; someone you develop experiences with; someone you may be compatible with. Some “friends” go beyond that by becoming sexually involved. This, new, potential relationship is labeled “Friend with Benefits” (FWB).

Individuals that pursue this type of relationship is:

  1. Too busy to invest time into a committed relationship.
  2. Recovering from a past break up and desire sexual intimacy.
  3. Interested in someone who does not show interest and believes sex without commitment may spark said interest.

Some may think these individuals are purposefully avoiding relationships. Others assume it is just a phase that women or men develop following a horrid break up. Regardless of the negative connotations associated with your current arrangement, it is beneficial.

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Benefits of a FWB

  1. Friendship

You are in an arrangement with someone who knows you and someone you can fully trust. You are comfortable with them and you can be your true self with them.

  1. Freedom

You are free to do what you want and when you want. You are not bounded to someone. You can be yourself and in a space free of judgment.

  1. Convenience 

You do not have to scour social media outlets such as Tinder for your next random sex partner when you need to knock your rocks off. There is no need to jump from bar to bar, drunken, in search for something sweet to soothe your needs. When you need it, give your FWB a call. Since it is an arrangement,  they will be willing and ready to satisfy your cravings.

  1. Sex,  DUH!

Solo sex is no fun! Sex with someone you know is better. Since there is no commitment, you can feel comfortable in having liberated, safe sex, rather than hooking up with random strangers for a quick fix.

FWB’s is a real connection.  It’s not you scrolling through Tinder liking every random persons picture in hopes someone will do the same. This person is there and will always be for as long as you want.  So, if you aren’t feeling “committed relationships” lately,think of a potential FWB. But, know the cons to a FWB as well.