UND looks to ease first-generation adjustment

But being the first person in her family to attend college, there was even more stress associated with it. Eventually, she walked away from school because she didn’t know there were resources to help her through the difficult learning curve of understanding a college’s inner workings.

Hurst since graduated college and now works as an assistant professor of sociology at Oregon State University.

She is visiting UND this week for a series of discussions about the academic journeys and experiences of first-generation students and ideas on how a university can do a better job to support them.

Hurst was part of a six-person panel Wednesday made up of UND students, faculty and staff that explored the challenges of being the first college student from a family and some ways UND can better serve those students.

“So many things can go right and wrong in our lives and a lot of first-generation stories are serendipitist,” Hurst said. “Somebody takes an interest or they make the right connection or something like that. It’s not an easy, five-step progression that it is for a lot of middle class students.”