Fernanda Jardim de Souza is an eCommerce Risk Analyst at Expedia Group. She is a first-generation college student who grew up in a small town in Brazil, but has made Seattle her home for the past five years.
According to Fernanda, first-generation college students should follow these three tips:
1) Don’t ever forget you belong and deserve to be where you are. As a first-generation college student, going to college is a whole new experience. You might be unsure of what to expect because no one else in your family navigated this path before. You may be unaware of what forms you need to fill out or how financial aid works. All of this uncertainty can make you feel like maybe college isn’t for you, or maybe you don’t deserve to attend a certain university. However, this isn’t true. You were accepted into a school because you earned it. You worked hard in your classes, studied for standardized tests, explored your passions, and volunteered with organizations. You have a special and diverse perspective that makes you valuable to any campus community. Remember, you are a unique individual with so much potential.
2) Make connections and build relationships. For me, it was very important to find people around campus that I could count on, and I suggest you do the same. Sometimes college can be stressful, so make sure you find a support system that consists of people you can confide in. These people can motivate you to get through tough times. Aside from a personal network, you should also build a professional network on campus. Find people on campus, such as professors or advisors who can connect you with opportunities and introduce you to resources.
3) Get involved on campus. I understand that studying takes up a majority of your time at college, and you might have to balance this with working part-time or even full time, but it is necessary to make time to participate in campus activities. You can join a club, volunteer at an event, or conduct research for a professor. Whatever it may be, get involved! When you pursue interests outside of the classroom, you open yourself up to meet friends and mentors, and you are able to embrace new perspectives and opportunities. I credit finding my current job at Expedia Group to getting involved on campus.
Fernanda Jardim de Souza is an eCommerce Risk Analyst at Expedia Group. She is a first-generation college student who grew up in a small town in Brazil, but has made Seattle her home for the past 5 years. Fernanda holds an Associate’s degree in Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management. In her free time, Fernanda enjoys climbing mountains, volunteering at local organizations, and reading books.