Northeastern Illinois University

Susana Luna (2011)

My First Generation Story

I was born in Mexico City in 1980. I grew up in a family with two parents that only had high school educations. While they wanted us to attend primary schools in order to get the best education, neither my father nor my mother encouraged me or my siblings to attend college. After our family went through some tribulations, I attended one of the best high schools in Illinois. The school was very supportive and encouraged all juniors and seniors to start thinking about college. However, because of lack of support from my family and my own insecurities that I could not get admitted to a college, I gave college very little thought. The summer after my senior year, I enrolled at a nearby community college. Unfortunately, I only attended one year.

A few years later I was working at a not-for-profit organization. After one year of working there, my boss encouraged me to go back to school. He was able to get the agency to pay for some of my tuition. He had attended Northeastern Illinois University and recommended completing my studies there. He arranged a meeting with an advisor and a few weeks later I was enrolled and ready to start taking classes. I was a 25-year-old going back to college and I was terrified. I felt awkward at times, but the awkwardness faded away quickly as I started to make friends with other students and become comfortable with the university.

To recognize that I am a first generation student has special and valuable meaning. This is because I did not have any family support, the education or maturity to understand that pursuing a college education could change my life in many positive ways. I have discovered that I am more capable of accomplishing things that appear complex. I understand that we live in a society in which a college education is extremely important. I cannot stress enough the importance of encouraging and teaching young people to make college a part of their lives. While I didn’t have much support from my family to attend college, I value and thank those that did and still do support me with completing my studies.

It has not been an easy process. It has been difficult at times because I work full time. I worry about college tuition and the school work can be challenging. So I have to keep reminding myself that there is a reward at the end, but it will take hard work, commitment and dedication. My goal, first and foremost, is to complete my studies with a bachelor’s degree with a major in communication, media and theater and a minor in Spanish at Northeastern Illinois University. I want to pursue a career in media production in the Hispanic community.

My college experience has been phenomenal. I have met some of the most amazing professors who continue to encourage me to stay strong and keep my head up. The university has done well to make the college experience beneficial and exciting.

About the Student

FGV: Susana Luna

I was born in Mexico City on December 2, 1980. Most of my childhood I lived in a town called Cuernavaca, which is 40 minutes away from Mexico City. I have one older brother and one older sister. Besides working full time and attending school, I have a relentless passion for animals. I enjoy folk, emo and indie rock. I am interested in politics and continuously try to keep myself informed. As for my future, I will continue to travel and I hope to be married within the next few years. I will most likely return to school to get a master’s degree.

Student Stats

Name: Susana Luna (2011)
Age: 29
Year in School: Senior
Major: Commmmunications, Media, Theatre
Favorite Course: Gender and Media
Dream Job: Radio Production

About the School

FGV: Northeastern Illinois University

Like many institutions of higher learning, NEIU traces its roots to the beginning of teacher training. Northeastern was founded in 1867 in Blue Island, Illinois, as the Normal School, Cook County’s first teacher training institution. NEIU has a rich tradition of educational innovation and prides itself in preparing teachers and administrators who make a difference in Chicago. That tradition continues to this day and has expanded to include all of the University’s academic disciplines, allowing the University to fully embrace the community in which it resides.



  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662