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Mistakes of a First Generation College Student


After graduating from undergrad, I couldn’t find a decent job that would give me a chance. It seemed like the only jobs I would attract were $10 an hour jobs that had nothing to do with my major. Before I knew it, I ended up selling cars. Selling cars taught me how to hustle, be consistent, and never let anyone take half of what I worked hard for. The downfall of selling cars were the long hours, inconsistent cash flow, and being on my feet all day. I realized at that moment that a degree doesn’t matter if you can’t find a way to make it work for you. Being a first generation college student was always challenging because everything was a learning curve that I had to face alone.  If you want to succeed, then never use being a first generation college student as an excuse, but instead find a way to make things work for you. If you are a first generation college student, then don’t worry because I am going to show you how to avoid pitfalls on your journey towards obtaining your first degree.

  • Apply for as many internships/co-ops as possible. An Internship is a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training rather than merely employment, and it can be paid or unpaid. A CO-OP (Co-operative), which means the student will participate in an educational program for alternate periods of academic study with periods of work experience in their appropriate fields of study. During my undergraduate career, I took internships and co-ops for granted. I thought that having a 3.8 GPA and leadership roles in SGA would help me get a job in my career, but I was so wrong. GPA doesn’t matter in the workforce, but having experience does. Take advantage of the opportunities that will give you first hand experience in your field. Gaining that experience can either help you figure out if that career is for you or convince you to change your major to something that fits you. The most important thing is finding a career that will make you happy.

  • Maintain a competitive GPA. If you want that dream job that pays a great salary, has awesome benefits, and opportunity for growth, then be sure to maintain a competitive GPA while in school. Finding a job that pays a lucrative salary is hard to find if you have a low GPA. Employers are seeking those candidates who can adapt to change, have the ability to cross train, and possess the qualities needed to lead. This means that employers want those students who were able to maintain a great GPA, while also participating in curriculum activities and leading in their organizations. While looking and interviewing for jobs during my graduate studies, I received many denial letters stating that there were other candidates more qualified than me. As a result, I made sure that I maintained a competitive GPA that would at least give me a seat at the table.

  • Study Abroad. Remember, when interviewing for that dream job, there are other candidates that may have better or similar qualifications as you. The question is, how will you stand out?From experience, I realized that employers were very impressed because I had taken the initiative and time to study abroad while in college. Many companies are located abroad, so there may be a time in your career where you may have to live abroad for a few months or visit other countries to do business. Being open-minded and fearless about studying abroad will set you apart from your peers. Traveling the world is priceless and it’s a once in a lifetime experience, so please don’t let fear keep you away from broadening your horizons and helping you land your career job.

I’m excited that you took time out of your day to read the advice I provided. Please consider these three points, especially if you plan to succeed during your collegiate years. Everything that I mentioned is from the heart because I had to deal with these issues first hand. Don’t take internships, GPA, and studying abroad for granted. Instead, do your research and find a way to be an “untouchable” student. For more information about me and upcoming posts, then please subscribe to my website at


Chisolu Isiadinso is a woman of integrity, passion, purpose, and vision. She is the Founder and CEO of Green TigerServices, and Creative Director of Chi the Prototype. When it comes to leadership, she understands the importance of leading, listening and learning. Having the opportunity of reigning as the 81st Miss Southern University A & M College has provided Chisolu with the tools needed to help and inspire others. During her reign, she was able to understand the importance of poise, perseverance, commitment, and dedication. As a first-generation college graduate and entrepreneur, Chisolu works with millennials to capture their attention, refine their purpose and help them become the ultimate prototype.



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