University Park, IL,
16:43 PM

First Generation Student: Jasmin Garner

Jasmin (Jas) Garner wants to be the next Shonda Rhimes, and she’s well on her way. At Governors State University, Garner is everywhere: exploding on stage with the GSU Dance Company and singing with the Trans4mation Gospel Choir.  A film student, Garner shines in leading roles, serving on the Student Senate, and the Honors Student Council, plus she’s a Resident Assistant at Prairie Place.

Here’s what Garner shared about her experience as a first-generation student:

“When I first started at Governors State University, I didn’t know what to think. I’m the type of person who goes on YouTube and watches the videos about horrible dorm mates or people talking about their horrible experiences with their professors, and I freak myself out.

But when I doubted myself and what I was doing, my dad was always there to encourage me. “Fizzel, everything will be OK,” he’d tell me. “You’ve got this.”

I’d think to myself, really? I’ve got this? OK.

Then the confidence would settle in: Yeah. I’ve got this.

My dad is my biggest cheerleader and supporter. I’m lucky to have him as my best friend. Although he didn’t go to college, he is my mentor. He is genuinely interested in my experiences and helps keep me focused on my goals.

I have found support in faculty and friends at Governors State University as well. The smiles you see from people here are not fake. People care.

No one in my family has gone on to college. And while I’m setting a new trail, I know it’s OK to break down those walls and to be a different person than the family standing behind me. They’re proud of me and who I’ve become.

I have been surprised at the opportunity at GSU for someone who had nothing to come here and create something. A little bit of networking on campus can make a big difference. It can lead to jobs, scholarships, and friends. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with all the opportunities for students here.

I have enjoyed finding my place here. I am in in so many organizations and leadership roles where I help people. This semester, I want to do a podcast to give students a voice about issues on campus, but in a respectful way.

But the best part of college life has been the learning process. The professors and staff in my department are hands on and eager to teach. You can see the fire in their eyes. It helps push me to continue to pursue my dreams and be a better student and person.”