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First Generation – Vivian Bynoe

Vivian Bynoe

Tell us about yourself: In this section were you involved with TRIO?

I am a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Lane Library. I started here in February of 2016 and have worked in libraries since 2005. I love being able to help students find the information they need, whether it is for their academic needs or personal lives. My involvement with TRIO started in the Upward Bound program at my high school. This program prepared me for college through counseling and college visit tours. I was also a TRIO student as an undergraduate at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The TRIO staff was like an extended family and I even became a peer mentor to freshman in the TRIO program. 

What was it like being a first generation college student? What barriers did you face and how did you overcome them?

I always knew that I wanted to attend college. My mother and father instilled the value of education in me from a very young age. My mother taught me to read before I went to kindergarten and my father always expected us to do well in school. He learned a trade and even though he did not obtain a four year degree, he always had his own business. The barrier I faced was not from lack of support from my family but financial challenges of not being able to afford college. Because I worked very hard in school, I earned a full scholarship to attend college. I also learned to ask questions to be successful. Your parents can only show you what they have learned, so if they are unsure of when you should take your SATs, or when to apply for college, you have to speak up and ask for help. Being able to do that and participate in Upward Bound, helped me on my path to college.  

What kind of support did you receive from friends and family?

My parents valued education so there was an expectation that their children would go to college and do more than they were able to do. I surrounded myself with peers who wanted to be successful in life so we pushed each other. 

What can GS do better in support of first Generation Students?

Georgia Southern has taken a great step by offering TRIO Support Services to their students. In addition to offering support through TRIO, faculty should have an understanding of how to work with first-generation college students. All students have different needs so we all must be understanding of that in the classroom and in the library. It starts with finding out what the needs are and then working to fulfill those needs.

Give encouraging words to 1st Generation staff and students who haven’t realized their academic dreams.

You already have everything you need inside of you to succeed! If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. Find someone on campus that you trust to help you navigate your college journey. Some things you will learn in class and other things you will learn from experience, so always be open to growth.

Last updated: 10/5/2020