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1st Generation – Andrew Dies

Andrew Dies Story

Andrew DiesTell us about yourself:

I am originally from Lehigh, KS.  This is a town of 200 people in the middle of some wheat fields in Kansas.  I went to the University of Kansas for my undergrad, where I graduated with a degree in Social Work.  I then went to NC State University where I got my degree in Higher Education Administration.  I am now currently in the Educational Leadership Doctoral program at Georgia Southern University, where I will graduate in Spring 2021.

What was it like being a first generation student?

My time at KU wasn’t bad.  I was lucky enough to have a few people invest their time and energy into me to help me get through.  My RA and Complex Director in housing invested their time.  My academic advisor, whose name I still remember, helped me when I wanted to change my major and I didn’t know what to change it to.  At that time the course catalog was an actual catalog, so I sat down and went through every major to see what would work for me.  I was successful because of the connections I had through my being an RA in housing.  If I had issues, they were able to connect me to the right places to get the help I needed.  I never felt like giving up, but that was due in no small part to the encouragement and motivation I was getting from my mother.  Growing up in a single parent family and after having seen my mother struggle working at the job she had, I knew that college was my way to ensure things would be better.  Now this isn’t to say my life growing up was bad. My mother would agree that she worked so hard and kept me motivated so I could have a better life.

What kind of support did you receive from friends and family?

I couldn’t have done it without my mother.  Even now, I am getting through my doctoral program and job with the motivation and encouragement of her.

What can Georgia Southern University do to help first Generation Students?

The critical thing is creating an environment where it’s ok to not know something and even sometimes not know what you don’t know.  Navigating the bureaucracy of an organization continues to be more and more difficult, especially if you have never had someone that has done it before.  We have to create an environment where it’s ok to not know something.

Give encouraging words to 1st Generation staff and students who haven’t realized their academic dreams.

Don’t give up…please don’t give up.  There is ALWAYS someone here that can help you.  Even if you don’t know where to begin, we can still help.  You’re going to get discouraged and you’re going to feel defeated.  That’s ok.  What’s important is that you keep fighting and don’t give up on yourself.  If you ever need anything, utilize your resources.  Come and talk to me!  I will do anything and everything I can to help.

Last updated: 11/2/2018