While the first-generation college student experience is as varied as the individual lives of the people themselves, everyone has a story. From the day we receive our acceptance letter, to the day we walk across the stage to receive our diplomas, every step has been invisibly shaped by our personal histories of joy, struggle, and accomplishment.
The goal of this project is to lead first-generation college students and graduates in the creation of transformative stories that move us beyond “what happened?” to the more central question of “what will I do with it?” A journey in bridging where we come from with the lives we aim to live. The final products result in powerful stories that transform the storytellers and inspire fellow first gen students.
- 3-Day Workshops for current and former first-generation college students
- User friendly project: No previous software experience needed
- Sliding scale fees to accommodate groups of all types
A wonderful opportunity to affirm and use a creative approach to express the experience of being a 1st generation college student in a supportive community of people who were ‘first in the family’ to attend college.
I feel better about being a first gen student after that workshop and the workshop helped me come to terms with the privilege and disadvantages I have in both my home and school life.Past participant
In just 3 days, this workshop takes participants on a journey exploring their accomplishments and obstacles to a final product to commemorate their achievements and inspire others.
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About the project
First Generation Students: Telling Our Stories digital storytelling project explores the use of storytelling and social media to give voice to the rarely heard narratives of First Generation college students and graduates. In digital storytelling workshops, current and former first-gen students craft first-person stories and weave images, video, sound, and silence to craft elegant multimedia pieces about pride, growth, resilience, anger, tenacity, doubt, shame, and discovery as they navigate the invisible cultural and social norms of higher education.
Working at the intersections of art, sociology, democratic education, and storytelling, participants collaboratively re-examine their own narratives of educational success as they develop counter-narratives to the deficit-laden language of much of the academic literature on First Generation students. As these stories name the political, emotional, and intellectual work of claiming one’s place in college against the odds, we will invite all stakeholders to imagine new means for making college more inclusive.
A joint project of Class Action and Jane Van Galen.