By: Jaime Sydow
Hi there! My name is Jaime Sydow and I am a tour guide here at UW Oshkosh. I am currently a junior double majoring in Medical Technology and Biology with a Healthcare Emphasis. I am also a First-Generation College Student which means I am the first in my immediate family to attend college! Sound like you? Then follow me as I reflect on my first year and the support I received through programs offered here at UWO!
To be completely honest I never knew I was a first-generation college student until I first registered for classes in June of 2018 with Advisor Cindy Lopez-Johnson who, at the time, was an advisor for Student Support Services. She sat me down and discussed the program that helps first-generation students who happen to make up 44% of the UWO student population! Student Support Services, or SSS, recruits students like me to be part of a program called Trio which is really geared towards providing extra resources and support for first-generation and low-income students. This means that special advisors are assigned to you, more advising appointments are held, a Learning Group is assigned to you to meet weekly for guidance and support and you get to meet so many other students just like you plus so much more!
Freshman year is a big year for incoming students who may feel a little lost. SSS understands that, so first-year students are required to attend a Learning Group that meets for an hour once a week. This group is led by two students who are first generation or low income and have experienced the helpfulness of group. They are there to guide you through any process such as FAFSA, credit and financial help, any class or homework struggles and so much more. Whatever you may need, those group leaders are always ready to take the time to hear your questions or concern and address them the best that they can. Think of them as an extra person to lean on while you yourself are navigating the uncharted waters. Advisors are also there to help you out with any concerns. In addition to your first-year Learning Groups, you also will be required to meet with your assigned advisor five times throughout the school year. These appointments include check-ins to make sure you are doing alright and address any class or scheduling concerns that you may have. They work with you directly to keep you on the right path with your major and credits so that you are always ahead of the game. After that it isn’t required to meet five times with your advisor, but you are always more than welcome to because that is what they are there for and they always love seeing their students!
Being a part of this program was the best decision I ever made! I felt welcomed and greatly supported on campus which is huge reason I love UWO. With SSS I was introduced to financial, class, homework and mental assistance. Advisors and peers help you along the way to make sure that you have the resources to succeed because you may not have that full background to draw from since you are the first to attend college. The best part is you are a part of the SSS program all the way up until you graduate! The support isn’t just a free trial to get you through freshman year. You are supported through out all the years you are here at UWO and even beyond!