Appalachian State University

Ja’Saun Davis (2010)

My First Generation Story

I was born in Trenton, N.J., on Aug. 1, 1991, and was raised by my mother because my father has been in prison most of my life. I have a little sister and never met my grandparents on my father’s side because my grandmother died of AIDS and my grandfather was not in my father’s life. We moved to South Carolina so my mom could get a better job, offer me a better education, and get away from my sister’s father, whose home was raided for drugs. I later moved back to New Jersey to live with my grandmother for a time, but her house caught fire and we moved again. After two years, my mother, sister and stepfather moved back to New Jersey, and by the time I was 10, my family and I moved to Raleigh, N.C., in order to escape poverty and dead-end jobs.

I’m proud of where I came from and everything I’ve been through, because every event in my life has helped make me the man I am now. I’m the fourth out of 18 grandchildren to graduate high school and the first to go to college. My whole family depends on me to succeed. I don’t consider this pressure, but rather motivation to keep on working hard and become even more dedicated to reaching my goals in life. My mother is the most inspirational person in my life because of her dedication to make a better life for her children. Since I was 13, I’ve wanted to become an architect. My inspiration to attend college came when I received an award from the National Academy of Achievement for English, so I applied and was accepted into Appalachian State University—located about three hours from where my family lives. I still want to become an architect and am now majoring in Building Sciences with a concentration in Architectural Technology and Design.

Appalachian and its professors have helped me feel comfortable transitioning into college. My favorite courses have been First Year Seminar and Transitions to College, which helped me a lot because they made college much easier than I had imagined. They also helped me to create things such as study plans to help me get my schoolwork in order. I have found that the professors and the university’s Student Support Services for first-generation college students do all they can to help whenever I need it.

About the Student

Ja'Saun Davis 2

I was born in Trenton, N.J., on Aug. 1, 1991, and was raised by my mother because my father has been in prison most of my life. I have a little sister and never met my grandparents on my father’s side because my grandmother died of AIDS and my grandfather was not in my father’s life. We moved to South Carolina so my mom could get a better job, offer me a better education, and get away from my sister’s father, whose home was raided for drugs. I later moved back to New Jersey to live with my grandmother for a time, but her house caught fire and we moved again. After two years, my mother, sister and stepfather moved back to New Jersey, and by the time I was 10, my family and I moved to Raleigh, N.C., in order to escape poverty and dead-end jobs. I’m proud of where I came from and everything I’ve been through, because every event in my life has helped make me the man I am now. I’m the fourth out of 18 grandchildren to graduate high school and the first to go to college. My whole family depends on me to succeed. I don’t consider this pressure, but rather motivation to keep on working hard and become even more dedicated to reaching my goals in life. My mother is the most inspirational person in my life because of her dedication to make a better life for her children. Since I was 13, I’ve wanted to become an architect. My inspiration to attend college came when I received an award from the National Academy of Achievement for English, so I applied and was accepted into Appalachian State University—located about three hours from where my family lives. I still want to become an architect and am now majoring in Building Sciences with a concentration in Architectural Technology and Design. Appalachian and its professors have helped me feel comfortable transitioning into college. My favorite courses have been First Year Seminar and Transitions to College, which helped me a lot because they made college much easier than I had imagined. They also helped me to create things such as study plans to help me get my schoolwork in order. I have found that the professors and the university’s Student Support Services for first-generation college students do all they can to help whenever I need it.

Student Stats

Name: Ja’Saun Davis (2010)
Age: 19
Year in School: Sophomore
Major: Building Sciences, with a concentration in Architectural Technology and Design
Favorite Course: First Year Seminar
Dream Job: Architect

About the School

FGV: Appalachian State

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Appalachian State University offers a challenging academic environment, energetic campus life and beautiful location. Appalachian combines the best attributes of a small liberal arts college with those of a large research university. It enrolls about 17,000 students and offers more than 140 undergraduate and graduate majors. Small classes and close interactions between faculty and students create a strong sense of community, which has become an Appalachian hallmark.

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