Tag Archives: First Gen

why is this school literally macklemore

I remember the first full-price clothing item I ever bought. No discounts. No coupon. It was my first semester at Wesleyan, and I had to get a black dress for my WesWinds concert. My mom and I had gone to Zara to check their overwhelmingly black aesthetic, and I found a black dress with a lace top. I thought it was the perfect dress until I checked the price tag. $50. We both knew that we would have to wait forever for that dress to go on sale, and I didn’t own an appropriate dress for my concert, which was quickly approaching.

My mom gave me a look and said hadi, which translates into a bunch of things in English. It can mean come on, let’s, but in this situation, it meant, we’re going to ignore the price because this is a pretty dress. Screw it, let’s buy it. It also meant, let’s do this quickly before my wallet changes its mind.

For most of my life, I’ve been much more accustomed to hand-me-downs and clearance rack finds than full-price fashions and expensive trends. Growing up, my favorite outfit was a sequined denim jumpsuit that had been passed down to me. This was, in retrospect, absolutely ridiculous and marginally over-the-top for a pre-teen to wear, but it was special to me. Our hand-me-down system was cross-continental: my friend’s mom would pass down her daughter’s clothes to me, where I would get some use out of it, and then those clothes were packed away to be brought to my cousins in Turkey, where the cascade of hand-me-downs began again: starting with one of the middle cousins, to the one slightly younger, to the second-cousin-twice-removed-or-what-we-just-call-cousin down the line. As long as it was in wearable condition, it was passed down.

Upon one of my visits back home, I saw one of my cousins wearing a dress that I remember wearing in elementary school: white, with some red, orange, and yellow flowers scattered along the hem and waistline. It was one of my favorite dresses; now, it had been passed down two bodies before reaching my cousin’s closet.

The topic of clothing within a low-income family is complex: a web of societal standards of dress combined with financial barriers. I had learned quickly that my mom and I could not afford regular-priced clothing, so our trips to the Gap consisted of darting toward the sale section, calculating sales tax on each item, never crossing the line between clearance and regular-priced, avoiding lusting over a dress that we couldn’t afford. My wardrobe’s guiding logic was out of season: we bought summer clothes in the winter when it went on sale and winter clothes at the beginning of summer, estimating how much I would grow in the meantime. On the few occasions my mom and I went through the in-season section, we would take a mental note on the clothes we would wait to go on clearance, eventually buying them a few months later. This was our process; we waited for coupons, for credit card rewards, for the hand-me-downs supplementing my needs in the meantime.

Yikes: Wesleyan Ranks 1972nd in Economic Mobility for Low Income Students

“The numbers are always underwritten by the real struggles against classism and the impactful activism of low-income students.”

Winter Wesleyan, Jan. 20, 2012.

[Updated 1/24/17, 9:45AM] The infographic has the minimum wage at Wesleyan listed as $9.60. This was the wage for 2016, but the state of Connecticut raised the wage to $10.10 effective Jan. 2017. Many thanks to Noah Kahan ’19 for catching this.

For countless cycles of matriculation, prospective Wes students have been concerned about our reputation on College Confidential. TBT amirite? This worry soon goes away (hopefully), for a variety of reasons. Despite our Forbes ranking of #9 in the country last year, I’d say most of us still don’t put much stock in college rankings.

The Forbes ranking system focuses on present value and return on investment. Basically, they tend to prioritize student satisfaction rates and alumni earnings, among other things. This system countered US News’ prioritizing of prestige measures like endowment size and “quality” of applicant pool (think SAT scores). In a similar vein to Forbes, the New York Times just released a host of rankings based on, you know, what you can actually expect to gain (financially) from college. Their rankings were released last Wednesday and focus on measures of upward mobility.

The rankings come from a study by The Equality of Opportunity Project in which the authors construct what they call “mobility report cards” for every single college in America. These report cards tracked student and parental income data from 1999-2013. The Times published some great interactive data visualizations from the study, searchable by college. As you can tell from the headline, we were curious about how Wesleyan stacked up. Let’s break it down:

First Generation Panel and Discussion

Kevin Winnie ’16 writes in:

This event is an opportunity to connect with other members of the first generation community and discuss academic success at Wesleyan. Panelists will discuss the strengths of being first generation, their experience in college and ways they navigated obstacles that arose along the way. Resources on campus will also be shared. Light refreshments will be served.

Date: Thursday, March 31
Time: 4:30-6 PM
Place: Allbritton 311

In Depth: QuestBridge and First-Class

Quest Group Photo

WELCOME to the FIRST re-installment of Wesleying’s NEWLY REINVIGORATED SERIES: IN DEPTH! This series will go ~*~in depth~*~ (see what I did there) to bring some of those well known and some of those not so well known clubs to light. We want to help the student body learn more about all the unique things Wes has to offer in order to help them discover their ~interests~.

We’re starting off the series with an interview from one of QuestBridge/First-Class’s own Brenda Quintana ‘18. (For those who don’t know what QuestBridge is and want to find out more about it you can do so here. And if you feel so compelled, spread the word! Recommend Quest to someone you might think qualifies/could benefit from knowing about the program and the ~amazing~ things that it does.) Let’s kick it off! Oh- and P.S. I am also in QuestBridge.