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 Princeton University


COVID-19 Author Image

Student - Princeton University

I did not realize truly how many opportunities would be at my fingertips as a student at Princeton University until I began attending school there. Yet, I cannot help but feel like I haven’t lived the first half of my undergraduate experience to its full potential – I entered college convinced I was meant to be a Biological Engineering major, but it wasn’t until halfway through my sophomore year that I ultimately recognized I could not fulfill my curiosities in biology, pharmacoepidemiology, and pharmacogenetics in that department. So, at the end of my sophomore year, I transitioned into the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department because I realized what I was looking for was not merely a focus on the natural sciences, but one that supports my understanding of the biological world on a microscopic and a macroscopic level.

Because I lost so much valuable time finding my academic niche, I applied to a semester study abroad program in Panama where I would be performing intense field work surrounded by mind-blowing ecological diversity. Being accepted was the best milestone in my career yet – I packed my suitcase, hugged my parents for what I thought would be the last time until May, and set out for Panama with a group of peers. I already had high expectations for the program, but I could have never predicted the extent to which they were surpassed: I was out in tropical rainforests every day, observing and interacting with species I would have otherwise never seen outside of a textbook.

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