First Gen Fellows organized a workshop called “I’m Telling Your Story,” with the goal being for stu­dents to get a better understanding of how assumptions work and to have students not only understand their peers, but also to share each other’s’ stories. First Gen Fellows — also known as First Generation College Students — is a program that provides resources to students who identify as first in their family to graduate from college and encourages students to grow with in unity like-minded peers.

First Gen Fellows has offered workshops throughout the academic year to represent a phase to growth, with fall quarter focusing on “naviga­tion” and winter quarter focusing on “empowerment,” and spring quarter focusing on “leadership.” The “I’m Telling Your Story” prompted par­ticipants with a few questions: Do you judge your peers before you get to know them? Would their assumptions about you sit right with you?

“We can’t know a person’s full story unless we share, that is why we are host­ing this event,” said Araik Papyan, First Gen Fellows leadership development coordinator. “It is meaningful to begin to understand the importance of look­ing beyond appearances, encouraging self-reflection, and allowing for mean­ingful group dialogue. This also encour­ages participants to ask meaningful questions and find out more informa­tion about their peers. This workshop will provide us with an opportunity to share our empowering stories and en­courage self-reflection.”

The participants were divided into pairs and given the task to write down questions pertaining to their inner characteristics on a note card, with the first two prompts being “One thing you can’t tell by just looking at me…” and “This is important for me to tell you because.” The participants had time to share these topics, which lead to open ended discussions.

Later, participants flipped their notecards to answer to more prompts and shared their takeaway from this workshop. A participant shared his discovery about his partner, stating that they came from different parts of the world, but shared similar struggles. Another participant men­tioned a newly learned fact about her long time friend, stating that she’s been friends with her for a very long time but never knew they shared the same race.

“It is empowering to have some­one listen to your story and listen to others tell theirs, sharing more about who you are,” said Margarita Gon­zales, First Gen Fellows leadership development coordinator. “This event is open to all student on cam­pus and it is not often that we get to have meaningful dialogue with our peers outside the classrooms.

If you’re a first-generation student or are generally interested in these types of workshops, check out the link below to find similar upcoming work­shops in the future.

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