First Generation Graduate

Despite failing short on Questbridge to avail a jump start for college, Abena Marfo successfully forged her way through Southern Methodist University to become the first from her generation to graduate according to a The Daily Campus article which reports, 


Now as Marfo prepares to graduate from Southern Methodist University in May, she leaves behind a legacy as one of the first students to wear a new honor cord that she helped implement for first-generation graduates for years to come.


Raised by a single mom who moved from Ghana to Dallas and never went to college, Marfo was determined to pave her own way.


“Going to college for me meant some type of access to a sturdier life, meaning both economically, mentally, and socially,” she said.


Marfo wanted to break the repeating cycle in her family and open doors her parents did not have, but Marfo did not know where to begin.”


But the road wasn’t all smooth all the way to her graduation since she juggled her time with different jobs and of course, with the First Generation according to a Dallas Morning News article from May 27. They say, 


“Throughout her academic career, she worked different jobs, some simultaneously, to support herself and take some of the economic burden off her mother. She toiled as a research assistant for a history professor, a tech lab assistant, a peer counselor, a resident assistant and a student ambassador for the university.


“I never had the privilege of just being a student,” Marfo, 22, said. She would not only cover her own expenses, but also help her mother whenever she could.


Marfo quickly realized a need for students like herself to gather at the university, so she co-founded SMU’s First-Generation Association.


As if going to college isn’t already demanding, first-generation students carry loads of additional stressors, she said. The campus organization connects and supports such students as they navigate college.


“I don’t know where I found the energy. I was just … pushing myself so hard,” she said. “I was just looking at the bigger picture.”


Abena Marfo will now be heading to Emory University in Atlanta to further her career education and background by attending Atlanta’s graduate school. 


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