The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

I am First: A Poem By A First Generation Student

Photo by Isaiah Gencuski

I am first.

First to rise with the sun,

Peeking through my curtains,

Encouraging, cheering behind the buildings,

To get up and begin to get things done.

I am first.

First to smell the coffee brewing and the pastries warming,

Sweet treats that inspire the energy to kick in and start motivating.

I am first.

First to begin with books and pens and thoughts,

Tucked away in a corner,

Creating an oasis between headphones,

A tiny nook to explore what the future could have in store.

I am first.

To succeed.

To fill out forms that far exceeded all familiarity.

To take tests that were more than a page,

To study until my eyes close,

To stress until I



I am first.

To fail.

To receive red ink painted on paper,

To see grades nearing close to Z,

To see a bank account drain and see worry increase,

Because money does not, nor has ever, come cheap.

I am first.

To fall so hard, that nothing feels like it will get better.

To cry until nothing can get better

Because nobody you know and love and trust, knows how to make it better.  

I am first.

To have dreams begin to come true.

To have a lasting smile,

A permanent song within my heart,

Playing tunes of joy, and pumping beats of exhilaration,

While everything finally falls into place.

I am first.

To have every lesson learned,

Turn into a meaning,

A value.

A truth.

A story for those who will follow after mine.

I am first to experience it all,

To gain every success,

To fail miserably and recklessly,

To ride every high,

And plummet to every low,

To experience all the moments in between.

I am first.

I am stressed.

I am pulled in all sorts of directions,

Trying to figure it all out by myself.

I am happy. I am conquering.

I am the difference.

I am first generation.

This is a personal poem written by Marquette Wire news reporter, Natallie St. Onge, based on her personal experiences as a first generation college student. 

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  • D

    Dennis J JirkovskyMay 5, 2019 at 10:31 am

    I am thankful I read your poem. I am sitting here at the college computer lab waiting for a student to show up for her specially scheduled final at 10:00 am. She could not make any other time and apparently she could not make this one either after I came in from church this morning.

    Your words give me hope again.