My First Generation Story
Hello, my name’s Shera Howe. I’m from Colebrook, N.H., a tiny town very close to the Canadian border. Neither of my parents had the chance to go to college. My father dropped out of high school to go to work, and my mother became pregnant before she could attend college. The generations before that were mechanics and workers for Christmas tree farms. Since my family struggles to make ends meet, I never thought I’d be able to go to college, either.
Senior year was torture for me. My father wanted me to join the Air Force for the education benefits, but I am just not cut out for that. So I went through the motions, applying to colleges and half-heartedly searching for scholarships, but I never believed I could actually make it.
Just when I’d given up on the idea, I remembered Lyndon State. I knew it was a good college, and it’s also pretty close, as Colebrook is only an hour and a half away. I doubted that I’d be able to make it, though, since the fees for an out-of-state student are pretty high. Then I got a New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Scholarship, and Lyndon came through for me with the Lyndon Promise Scholarship. Without that, I wouldn’t be here right now.
After being here for a semester, I’m incredibly grateful to have made it. Although I’m definitely going into a writing-related field (I’m a creative writing major), there are so many options here I could do anything with this education. I could be a writer, an editor, a teacher . . . there are limitless possibilities.
In the future, I want a decent job so I can support myself and give the rest to my parents. I don’t want to see my father suffer doing physical labor (right now he works on a Christmas-tree farm), or have my mom continue to deal with her minimum-wage job where she gets no benefits. I hope to be able to give them a comfortable life.
With the network of supportive teachers and amazing friends I have here, I feel like I can accomplish anything. I made Dean’s List this semester, much to my surprise, and I hope to keep doing well. Even if I do struggle, I know that there are faculty and staff who will help me, because that’s the sort of place Lyndon is.
I know I may have trouble making it here next year, even if I get the Promise Scholarship again. Nevertheless, I feel very thankful to have made it here at all. Between the atmosphere, support of those around me, and the education I’m getting, this small college has become more like a home than I would have ever imagined. No matter what happens next, this year has been a life-changing opportunity for me.
About the Student
Shera Howe grew up in an impoverished family in tiny
Colebrook, N.H. (population 2,331), and attended public schools there.
Most of the town is at or below the poverty level, and opportunities
there are very limited. Shera says she felt marginalized in high school
and had few friends, a situation that has changed greatly at Lyndon.
Still, she was active in extracurricular activities and worked at menial
jobs to help support her family. She has always been a reader and a
writer, and she also enjoys drawing. She admits to spending time playing
video games. She is a perfect example of an eager first-in-family,