How diversity affects success in life

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・English ・MLA ・5 Sources

College students whose family members or guardians have not completed a four-year degree face many obstacles. Only Daughter, a short story by Sandra Cisneros, describes how a girl child's education is worthless in the eyes of her parent. The same style can be seen in Amy Tan's Mother Tongue, in which the character encounters several challenges in accepting her cultural heritage and, worst, in relating with her peers. The admission of first-generation students to colleges is often regarded as a split in the family chain rather than a continuation of schooling. Pursuing a higher education comes with a price of abandonment, psychological impacts and even struggles due to financial constraints. Helping these young, smart, hardworking and thoughtful people must address their social, cultural and emotional aspects of their lives. The paper therefore is a discussion on how diversity affects success in life and how the problem can be tackled with focus on writings such as Mother Tongue by Amy Tan and Only Daughter by Sandra Cisneros among other elaborative writings.
Students’ background diversity shapes their college success and experiences. It is more likely that a student will attend college if his or her parent did. For the first-generation students, college life is quite challenging and poor performance is always the result. These students have battled with so many issues before reaching the point of enrolling to colleges (Cisneros1). Securing positions in institutions is difficult, keeping up in these colleges and let alone succeeding in life is a milestone of a challenge. Social diversity such as traditions, sex, race and social status is the background cause of this problem. Often, first-generation college students find it difficult to leave their parents due to the high dependency rate from the parents. The fact that they are mostly the home providers come with guilty feeling as they abandon their homes to better themselves though education. Breaking away from intergenerational continuity is more difficult as the new culture does not fully accommodate them.
First generation peers receive lower encouragement in comparison to non-first generation students. Parental involvement in students’ life promotes emotional stability as well as financial sustenance. Insufficient participation by parents in decision making, giving moral support, providing financial assistance and pertinent responsibilities hampers with the success of first generation students. Lack of guidance leads them to deviate from their goals and dreams since they have no idea on how to tackle the challenges they encounter (Thomas 3). First-generation students are characterized by delay in postsecondary enrollment, interrupted enrollment, part time schooling and frequent school dropouts. Education is not so valuable to the parents of these students. Females are often encouraged to get look for wealthier husbands and get married at very tender ages in order to reduce the burden in homes (Cisneros 6). Girls who manage to attend higher institutions get ridiculed especially if they get unwanted pregnancies. Intimidation of the few jobless college graduates is the reality of life. The root cause of this predicament is unemployment, little emphasis on the essence education, depressed economy and the acceptance of poverty as a way of life.
Psychological instability, emotional problems and mental sickness comes with the challenges encountered as a first-generation student. Consequently, disorientation contributes to low self esteem and difficulty in relating with other students in the upper class. Amy Tan’s story for instance reveals how embarrassed she felt when she introduced her mother to her peers (Tan 1). The language she grew up with made her feel ashamed and insecure of how she spoke. Embracing her background was such challenge for Tan that she spoke differently when with her mother and when with other people she spoke the normal and acceptable English. First generation students are often marginalized and misunderstood by both society members and fellow students in colleges. Exclusion, alienation and isolation are predominant especially in colleges highly populated with non-first generation students (Schmidt &Yemi 49). Their involvement in institutions’ decision making process and school activities tend to be limited as they are discriminated by fellow students. Without support and direction from family members, such students end up dropping out of schools to live their lives as carried out by their lineage.
To counter this problematic situation, addressing the social, psychological and financial well being of first generation students needs to be carried out. Educating all students on the significance of their diverse backgrounds is an important step towards helping the affected students. Both first generation students and non-first generation students should understand that their backgrounds do not make them lesser or more supreme individuals. Discriminating the less fortunate is immoral hence the non first generation student should welcome and assist their colleagues instead of isolating them (Schmidt &Yemi 41). First generation students should be given psychological assistance by professionals in order to reinstate their self esteem and cure any probable mental health instabilities. Facilitating of students’ understanding of their background and its significance would not only contribute to their comfort in campus but also help in navigating the journey towards succeeding in life. Financial and academic skills are essential to enable a person’s success in life. Paying college fees, meeting basic needs and for some sustaining their families is a burden to first generation students. Providing channels and lee ways though which such students can get extra income to sustain their families would also cub poverty. Mitigating the social class disparity demands background checks and balance because most of these students cling on to their past in defining their future (Thomas 2). It is also important to provide academic skills to these elites. Most first generational students do not use the available resources in institutions. The reason behind this is that they are fearful to the extent that they are unable to navigate within the institution. With little focus on their school work, poor results are always seen in their transcripts. Institutions should pay attention to this group of persons by alerting professors and all stakeholders (Harvey & Teresa 5). Engaging the whole institution will in turn contribute to availability of new ideas that will necessitate solving of this issue.


The education background of parents influences students’ enrollment in colleges, their experiences in institutions, school performance and generally success in life. For first generation students, financial problems, psychological issues and poor academic performance are among the few challenges that they encounter. Writers such as Army Tan, Sandra Cisneros and Latosha Thomas and others as discussed above share their experiences and remedies on the relationship between diversity and success. Institutions, governments, parents and society as a whole has a mandate to improve social and economic set up for success to be attained by all students regardless of their diversity.

Works Cited

Cisneros, Sandra. A House of My Own: Stories from My Life. , 2016. Print.
Harvey, Vickie L, and Teresa H. Housel. Faculty and First-Generation College Students: Bridging the Classroom Gap Together. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Internet resource.
Schmidt, Jacqueline J, and Yemi Akande. "Faculty Perceptions of the First-Generation Student Experience and Programs at Tribal Colleges." New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 2011.127 (2011): 41-54. Print.
Tan, Amy. "Mother Tongue." The Threepenny Review. (1990): 7-8. Print.
Thomas, LaTosha C. "The Impact of Diversity on Student Engagement and Academic Success" (2016).

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