Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Terrell Garrett (2010)

My First Generation Story

“I don’t know how we are going to pay for it, but you are going to college.” Though there were many things my grandmother said to me during my upbringing, most went in one ear and out the other. However, this one statement I remembered deliberately, as she always repeated it.

It was established at a very young age that I had no choice but to go to college. Raised by my grandparents (my grandmother graduated from high school and my grandfather dropped out of 10th grade), they always emphasized the importance of education. I can remember eating dinner and my grandmother mentioning, “I don’t know what I’m going to do when you leave.” I would reply, “Where am I going?” and she would say, “College.”

Not only did my grandmother mention this all the time, she acted on it as well. For me there was no such thing as summer break, as she always found something educational for me to do. Most influentially, she signed me up for the TRIO Upward Bound program, a year-round institute whose mission is to get first generation students to college. Though I did not agree with this, it probably was the best decision ever made.

My time spent in the program provided me with the cultivation, tools and push I needed to get me where I needed to be, which was on a college campus. I truly appreciate my grandmother, as my degree not only belongs to me, but to her as well.

On May 8, 2010, I walked down the aisle at Bloomsburg University’s spring commencement—the first to ever do so in my family. This is a feat that is owed to so many people, but most importantly, Edna Garrett from Childersburg, Ala., a place where a college education is as common as a snow storm during the winter months.

I am truly thankful for my grandmother, as my degree will not be the only one obtained in my family, for a continuum of scholarship was developed because of her.

About the Student

FGV: Terrell Garrett

Terrell Garrett, of Philadelphia, recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal communications. Prior to graduating in May 2010, he served on the Council of Trustees as a student trustee and was active with student organizations on campus. He is the former student director and founder of Men of Intelligence, Notability and Desire (MIND), which is a mentorship program designed to promote the positive image of African American and Latino males in the community. He has also served as former vice president of the Black Cultural Society, executive board member of the Frederick Douglas Institute and community assistant. He also worked as an office assistant in the office of Multicultural Affairs.

Student Stats

Name: Terrell Garrett (2010)
Age: 22
Year in School: Senior
Major: Communications
Favorite Course: Interpersonal Communications
Dream Job:

About the School

FGV: Bloomsburg University

Building on a rich history of academic excellence as one of 14 public universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Bloomsburg University prepares and inspires students to become dynamic and confident leaders by offering more than 80 programs leading to bachelor's degrees, 19 graduate programs leading to master's degrees and a doctorate in audiology, 390 full-time faculty with 90 percent holding terminal degrees and accredited programs through all four of its colleges. Bloomsburg University serves approximately 9,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.

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