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 Vassar College


Benji Mathot - Vassar College

It was spring break and I was staying in my dorm room on campus (like I do for every break) when I received the news that my friends were not going to be coming back to campus due to COVID-19. I was devastated because I knew that I did not have the resources to visit anyone or get myself away from campus. My school is in New York, just a couple of hours outside of New York City, so I was at a high risk of infection. My school promised to pay for a plane ticket to wherever I could find shelter, but I had nowhere to go. The only place I could go, was…back. Back to where I grew up…

If you’d like to hear my dreadful story, full of self-resentment and enmity, I’d encourage you to read on. I promise that there is a happy ending, but not until the very end. For those of you who choose to read, please take care of yourself as there is a Trigger Warning for mental illness, discrimination, and suicide.

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