First Generation

Our blog today is a beautiful poem from Fong Tran, about his experience living as a first-generation American Vietnamese. We are always looking to share insights about migration and we hope you enjoy this moving poetry. If you are a first-generation UK citizen, we would love to read and publish your poetry so do send it to us.

Check it out here to see more of “Fong’s poems”

First Generation

by Fong Tran

The Collegeboard defines a first generation student as those who are first in their families to graduate high school, attend college, etc. Presents educators and counsellors with special challenges as well as potentially great reward. Often times, they are children of immigrants and/or low-income families.

I’m a
first generation high school graduate
first gen move out for college and
mother’s first visit to UC Berkeley
first to fail freshmen calculus and almost quit
first generation shamefully kept it to myself
first gen learned how to study in groups
and not feel insecure
first to study abroad in my mother’s motherland
Vietnam to figure out how my mother thinks
first generation still… haven’t…. figured that out
first gen graduated college and
mother’s second and last time visit to UC Berkeley
first to get a job that didn’t require
power tools like my brothers
first generation got demoted from that job
and tried not to feel like the world just ended
first gen accidentally got a better job as a
University program coordinator
first to intentionally use the
student-employee discount to save money on grad school
first generation immigrants really love discounts
first gen read books and
netflix documentaries about minimalism
first to try to figure out how to stop
my mother’s habit for hoarding everything
first generation millennial american that always prioritized finding a career over finding a wife
first gen bought a house
—to really just buy another 3 years before my mom starts complaining that I’m not married yet
first gen earned a master’s degree.
—to really just earn another 3 years before my mom starts complaining that I’m not married yet
first Community College Director of Student Activities
and Campus Life and
felt prepared for heighten work responsibilities
first generation started therapy cause I really wasn’t
first gen rediscovered Buddhism like
I never knew what it was
growing up in Vietnamese temple
first generation realize that
I didn’t have to be first in everything
to make my family proud
first gen realize that I put all my accolades and accomplishments before my own family
first gen fatherless son learning
how to be a man that takes responsibility
first generation quit a 6 figure job
cause going to doctor appointments
with my mother was worth more of my time
first generation son of a single mother
finding his dream job:
—-Taking care of the mother that always took care of him
and write the poetry in that for living.
first generation
realizing you were told you always had less,
when in reality, you had all that you ever needed.

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