First Generation: Student Profiles | Webster University

First Generation: Student Profiles

HeibeckOlivia Heibeck

  • Senior public relations major from House Springs, Missouri
  • President of PRSSA
  • Student Ambassador

The reason I came to Webster University was mainly because of the study abroad program, but the reason I stayed was because of the connections I made not only with peers, but also with my professors, colleagues, bosses and other Webster faculty and staff. Yes, I did study abroad and enjoyed every minute of it, but I wouldn't be anywhere in my college career if it were not for the people at Webster who helped push me along.

So, my advice for incoming students is to foster relationships with as many people as you can. Get involved, join an organization and go out of your way to talk to your professors. Don't just be a person who goes to class and then back to your dorm, never experiencing all that Webster has to offer. If it were not for the relationships I made at Webster I would have never been able to study abroad, get an internship, find an on-campus job and many other things.

Also being a first generation student, I feel an immense sense of gratitude towards my parents for giving me the opportunity to have a college education. Seeing how proud they are that I am accomplishing many things at such a young age, because I am in college, makes me feel that all the hard work I put into my studies and extracurricular activities is paying off. Being a first generation student, there is a sense of pressure to live up too because my parents never had the opportunity, and because they have invested so much into college. Webster has made living up to these pressures an easy task. When I walk across the stage at graduation this May, I not only have my parents to thank for putting me through college, but I have Webster to thank for giving me the best college experience a first generation student could ask for.


MansoorHafsa Mansoor

  • Junior international human rights and political science double major from O’Fallon, Missouri
  • RA
  • MCISA program assistant
  • Muslim Student Association

My biggest tip for students, first generation or not, is to get involved on campus. That's how you feel attached to the community so that Webster feels like home. That's also how you make the connections that are going to turn into opportunities during your academic and professional career; it will get you the resources to excel, the experiences to stand out in a crowd of resumés, and the working relationships to open doors for you later.

So, join an organization, volunteer somewhere, look for an internship, maybe try an on-campus job. Don't overwhelm yourself with commitments—make sure your academics aren't suffering—but get involved with something you enjoy.

My other advice is, if you live on campus, to get to know your RA and use them as a resource; they have a lot of information and experience that can get you connected to what you need. Also, they're pretty cool; just saying. (Yes, I'm an RA so that last bit was a bit biased.)


PerezOlivia Perez

  • Senior media communications major from Wildwood, Missouri
  • Student Ambassador

There is a lot of pressure being a first generation college student. I don't have many close family sources to turn to whenever I need advice. There is a lot of guesswork involved in trusting myself and the resources provided to me by the school and the advice from those around me. But I do appreciate the help that I have been given by everyone throughout the years and my college journey wouldn't have been possible without them.

When I do graduate with my degree, I will be especially proud just because I know I'll be the first to accomplish something monumental in my family.

If you want to succeed at Webster, use all the resources they offer to the fullest extent. There are so many people in every department who can help in ways you wouldn't expect both in and out of the classroom plus all the great resource programs and offices the school has to keep you on track with your goals. What you get out of it depends on what you put in.


RauNickolaus Rau

  • Junior computer science major from Columbia, Illinois
  • UC Student building manager

Even though I am the first person in the history of my family to pursue a degree, I don't particularly think of myself as a first generation student. It is almost irrelevant to me because I do not care as much about where I came from but more about where I am going to be. Being a part of Webster has provided the personal guidance I needed to accelerate my motivation and interest in my future.