Travis, left and his brother Elvis, right.  

Travis, left and his brother Elvis, right.  

This month we hear from Travis Ghirdharie, a senior at Cornell University, and a Graduate of Schenectady High School who is studying Government and Anthropology. Travis is the first person to attend college in his family--and next year, he will be the first to earn a degree.

He offers this advice to our new college Scholars:

"College isn't the finish line, it's a checkpoint. It's an amazing checkpoint and know that you should be proud of what you have done. There will still be more adversities to face along the way, but don't be afraid to reach out for help. Meet with writing coaches for with your writing, facilitate regular communication with your advisors (all of them!). Even if they won't admit it, people get all kinds of help all of the time.

As low-income and/or first-gen students it can be tougher than it is for most students to find a place to call home on campus. You can feel out of place whether you're dorming or commuting, but know that you are not alone and it's not your fault. There are institutional barriers that you can and will break down. Being first-gen or low-income makes going to college more difficult in some aspects, but be proud of your identities and make strides.

College won't be easy, but it will be beyond worth it. You wouldn't be in a program like Sponsor-A-Scholar if there weren't people that thought you wouldn't be able to handle college.

Be grateful to every person that has helped you along the way from your parents to your guidance counselors to Sponsor-A-Scholar. It really does take a village to raise a child and they did a phenomenal job. They are proud of you and you are loved."

Thank you Travis!

We're always looking for words of wisdom from our college Scholars. What do you wish you had known before heading off to your college campus for the first time? Share it with us and we'll tell everyone! Email with Scholar2Scholar in the subject line.