Going to college is a big deal for any student. It's an especially big deal when you are the first in your family to do so.
Many students rely on their families to help them as they transition to their new life in higher education. They lean on them with questions and concerns and can use their experiences to mold their decisions and actions.
As the first member of her family to attend college, Tania Caudillo ('20) navigated the uncertainties of applications, campus visits and admissions deadlines without much direction. Her mother was often just as confused about the process as she was, but she was dedicated and motivated to stick with it. "I come from a family of Mexican immigrants who came to the U.S. to have a better life for themselves and their children. Growing up, my family ingrained going to college into my head, so I knew I had to do it."
While Tania's mom had always wanted her to go to college, she decided to go for herself. Tania says, "I wanted to get an education to make a positive impact on my family's life and to inspire my younger siblings that we can go to college and succeed too."
Getting into college wasn't the only obstacle the Sioux City native had to overcome. Once on campus, she felt the pressures of balancing classes, a job and her family responsibilities. Luckily, she found a program that helped her adjust. TRIO allowed her to be a part of community of first-generation students. The program helped connect Tania to campus resources, financial aid information and one-on-one meetings about study skills. Without the supportive network of TRIO, Tania knows her first year would have been completely different. "The friendliness from everyone in the community is what makes Briar Cliff different from other universities in Siouxland," she says.
Tania is pursuing a degree in graphic communications with a minor in marketing. She hopes to find a job where she can express her creativity while staying close to her family in Sioux City.