North Texas Daily

First-generation students

First-generation students

First-generation students
May 02
11:22 2020

First-generation students experienced conflicting emotions as their plans to celebrate being the first in their family to get a degree were cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The university postponed all May commencement ceremonies because of public health concerns and has yet to announce when they will be rescheduled.

Anthropology senior Kelly Partin is also a non-traditional student in addition to a first-generation student. She graduated high school in 2009 and said getting this far has meant a lot.

Both Partin’s immediate and extended family intended to watch her graduate, and while they are disappointed by the circumstances, she said they are still proud.

“We’re fairly pragmatic folks, and I’ve stressed to them that I’d rather delay a ceremony than risk their health and that of others,” Partin said. “On the bright side, I’ll be going to grad school. so even if I don’t get to attend commencement for my undergraduate degree, I know I have another ceremony to look forward to. I’m just glad to have an education and that the university has taken steps to protect public health.”

Interdisciplinary studies senior Brenda Quiroz said she originally had trouble coming to terms with the fact that she could not graduate this May.

“As a first-generation student, it honestly meant the world to me to walk the stage, especially after all the hardships I have encountered along the way just to get here today,” Quiroz said. “Where I stand today was never in my vision a few years ago. All I wanted from graduation was for my family’s — and especially my mom’s — hard work to be paid off and me being able to say ‘Lo Hicimos,’ we did it.”

Although she felt overwhelmed by the cancellation, Quiroz said ultimately, her family eased her worries and helped her understand they are proud of her regardless.

For economics senior Mirian Garcia, graduation being postponed gave her a sense of “conflicting relief” due to circumstances with her father attending graduation.

“My father was in the process of renewing his passport when everything began to shut down,” Garcia said. “Now he has to wait until the U.S. Consulate opens back up.”

Now Garcia is waiting to hear when graduation will be rescheduled and she is not sure how it will impact her ability to celebrate with her family in the future.

“My graduation meant a lot to my family and they were planning to drive 10 hours for the ceremony,” Garcia said. “All I can do is hope that if the ceremony does get postponed, my father can get his passport and that my family has the financial resources to travel upstate to attend my graduation.”

Courtesy UNT First Generation Student Organization

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Brooke Colombo

Brooke Colombo

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