By: Nate Scheib, recruiter, Talent Acquisition

As students across the nation head back to the classroom, we are celebrating First-Generation students. A First-Generation College Student is defined as a student whose parents didn’t attend college; or is the first person in their immediate family to attend college; or neither parent has at least one year of college. This month, we are sharing stories from ACT colleagues who are First-Generation College Students.

photo of NateWhat was your motivation for going to college and earning a degree?

Initially, I enrolled at the University of Iowa because I had a successful secondary education and it was what a majority of my peers were doing. From there, my motivation drastically changed. As I fell ill with mono my first semester and struggled with the transition to postsecondary I lost that motivation. I entered the workforce working as a manufacturing technician at General Mills and joined the Army National Guard, both helped me better understand what my motivations were.

I joined the military because my grandfather was also in the Army and when I realized I wanted to be a positive reflection of my family, the motivation for success became a passion. The successes I experienced in my initial training in the military made me hungry to duplicate that in my education career. I recommitted myself and went back to school.

Who inspired or supported you in your college-going journey?

My family and myself. My family was always there to encourage me and love me. That foundation combined with my desire to achieve something my immediate family had not accomplished pushed me to reach my goal. I knew by reaching the milestone of a collegiate graduate I would be changing the landscape of my family forever. I knew my children would be more likely to go to college and be successful. I also knew that with additional education my chance to be more financially stable would increase, and I wouldn’t have to worry about money like we did when I was growing up.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a first-generation college student?

Developing the study habits and commitment it takes to be a successful student was the biggest challenge. In high school you have your teachers, friends, and family holding you accountable. For me, going to college, I had built the trust of my family that I would do the right thing, with the freedom of being on my own, I quickly fell into bad habits.

What was your largest worry during that time?

My biggest worry was being successful and the financial investment that I made at such an immature age was going to pay off and was the right decision.

What advice would you give to a first-generation college student today?

College will not be easy, it isn’t supposed to be. You have to be committed and dedicated to yourself and hold yourself accountable. In addition to this, there are a lot of resources on campus you can utilize to help you through the path of success.

Nate Scheib is a recruiter in the Talent Acquisition department. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts with a focus on Business and Psychology.