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 Rice University


COVID-19 Author Image

Student - Rice University

Due to COVID-19, my school has asked us all to move out and return home. I was already home on spring break, which meant I needed to buy tickets to return back to school to get my stuff and fly back home. My parents own a church and are currently financing the new building we were finally able to move into, so the majority of the money that they make is going into trying to pay for the building. I had to purchase my ticket myself so as not to burden them any further, but once I returned home, money has gotten tighter. Both my sister and I have returned from college, meaning that there are now two more mouths to feed in our house for the next few months. My parents’ income has gone down because they are no longer able to host church services, so they are no longer being paid for tasks that they are normally paid for. The decrease of income coming into our house combined with the increase of people is taking a toll on our family. Rise First is giving me the opportunity to be able to contribute to our family during these hard times, and I can only pray that I can be selected for this program.

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COVID-19 Author Image

Student - Rice University

Living with a single mother and three siblings, money has always been something we did not have enough of. And in a time where we need to stock up on weeks’ worth of groceries along with the cutting of working hours due to the need of social distancing, money has become even scarcer than before. We understand the need of social distancing, but when one lives paycheck by paycheck, days off can be one’s worst nightmare. My mother and my older brother sacrifice their well-being to keep the grocery shelves stocked, to help shoppers prepare for this pandemic, and to put bread on the table. I worry for their safety every day, many around our community are not taking this situation seriously and I worry their recklessness will put my family members in danger. Every time I see them head to work, I pray for their health, for God to keep them safe. As someone suffering from asthma, I cannot go outside, I cannot help them pay bills or buy groceries and I feel so useless in this ongoing financial problem and it brings me to tears. My mother has noticed this and assured me that the best thing is for me to stay inside for my health. We would not be able to afford treatment if I were to get the virus, so I try my best to practice social isolation and proper cleaning to keep my family and myself safe. Along with that, I try to do as much as I can at home to keep my mother’s workload low, like cooking, cleaning, and taking care of my other siblings. To keep everyone positive during this stressful time and to pray for us stay healthy and afloat during this ever-changing period. I try to focus on my studies during this uncertain time as my mother encourages me to do, because with this college education I hope to help my family get out of this slump. I want this financial uncertainty to become a part of our past, I want to be helpful in some way and this is the only way I know how. I want my mom to finally relax, to be happy for a day off, to not worry.

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