COVID-19 Blog

FGLI COVID-19 Stories

COVID-19 has greatly impacted many people around the world, especially first-generation and/or low-income (FGLI) students. With this special edition COVID-19 blog initiative, Rise First hopes to achieve three key objectives:

  1. raise awareness of the challenges FGLI students are experiencing during this unprecedented crisis,
  2. provide a platform for FGLI students to share their stories,
  3. offer support to the best of our ability (through financial assistance and a curated COVID-19 resources list)

Rise First is honored to be able to provide a platform for student authors to opt-in to sharing their heartfelt and inspiring experiences with others so that no one will feel alone during these trying times. The inspiring stories published here are unedited to fully reflect each author’s voice. They are weaved together by common threads of determination, hope, and a sense of community - we truly are all in this together.

The students named in the blog entries below have opted-in to display their bios and have provided headshots for publishing.

Posts from students at Duke University


COVID-19 Author Image

Student - Duke University

As I received word from Duke that spring break would be extended for another week and classes would be transitioning to an online format, I was grateful. Objectively, my life at Duke was better: I had my friends, a drive to succeed from its supportive atmosphere, and my own room to reside in. However, no matter how much Duke had given me, my heart was always at home. My parents, in their 60s, suffer from a myriad of medical disabilities. Growing up, I was always in and out of hospitals due to their health complications. This only got worse the older I got. Learning about coronavirus only amplified my worry about my parents, I didn’t know whether they’d survive through the pandemic.

Even without getting infected from the coronavirus, my parents are, as of today, both in the hospital. My mother is in the ICU, and my father was admitted to the hospital two days ago. I don’t want to imagine what would happen if they were to get infected by the virus… its invasion only seems inevitable. Not only is survival biologically an issue, but surviving financially is a forefront worry as a first-generation, low-income student. With both of my parents unable to work, my family mostly relied on my sister’s full-time job as a way to pay bills. However, the virus affected her job and she is forced to sit idly at home. Today, we are praying for my mother to make it out alive and for my father to come home, and hope we have enough food to last for when they do come home. Although our economic situation is deteriorating, I’m glad I have my sister to help me deal with this stressful time. Without her, I’m not sure how I would be able to cope with these uncertainties. Though the coronavirus on the surface negatively affected my well-being, I have found a silver lining.

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