Where first-gen students go after graduating

After graduation, first-generation students often look for ways to help the communities they came from, writes Oliva Deng in the Huffington Post.

According to the American Psychological Association, 61% of first-generation students say they'd like to give back to their communities after they graduate, compared with just 43% of their non-first-generation peers.

First-generation student Gerry Deshycka, who graduated in 2017 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) says he wants to use his education to help solve challenges in his home country, Indonesia. He grew up in an area where many people did not finish high school, much less college.

Deshycka says his family urged him to get a high-paying job in the United States after graduation, but he says he wants to give back. "I have all this education, all this privilege, but if I did nothing for my country, I don't feel like [my education would be] worth it," he says.

Jessica Li, who graduated recently from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, says she could have gone to business school. But she chose to study education because she wants to help improve outcomes for underprivileged children.

Bach Tong, who recently graduated from Bard College, says he can't see himself trying to climb a corporate ladder. Instead, he says his experience leading antiviolence groups in school inspired in him a desire to help shape politics and "create something positive for society" (Deng, Huffington Post, 6/21).


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