First generation college students share career goals, advice

Annaleise Morrison and Cynthia Ruelas prepare for college life


Cynthia Ruelas will attend the University of Washington.

by Max Luthy, staff

Annaleise Morrison will attend Azusa Pacific with an interest in music and family ministry. 

A first generation college student is someone who has the honor of being part of the first generation in their family to attend college. Shorewood seniors Annaleise Morrison and Cynthia Ruelas will both be first generation college students, attending Azusa Pacific University and the University of Washington, respectively. Morrison plans on studying either music of family ministry, while Ruelas plans on studying to become a medical professional. 

Morrison has been heavily involved with her church and choir, taking leadership positions in both groups. At her church she volunteers as a leader of the middle school younglife group. “Its been really fun to get to know the middle schoolers and be in the leadership role model position, but at the same time being young enough to understand the different things they’re going through.” Morrison said. Although her future career is uncertain, one thing that is certain is her desire to help those around her.
Similarly, due to her own desire to help people, Cynthia Ruelas plans to pursue a medical degree with a minor in social work.

“A lot of people don’t have access to medicine. I want to help those that are less fortunate and give them those opportunities,” Ruelas remarked. 

Both students have put a tremendous amount of effort into securing their futures, but they also both recognize the wonderful mentors who have guided them. After being accepted to college, Morrison said that her parents “…are probably more excited than I am. Since the beginning of high schools they’ve told me I need to get good grades and go to college.” Ruelas credits AVID and all the advisors she had over the years with helping her reach her goals.

“If you feel nervous of how you will get to college, definitely consider the AVID program. Especially if you’re a first generation college student,” she said. 

Ruelas also knew she wanted to pursue higher education from a young age. “I’ve always planned on going to college, even without the family pressure there’s a lot of societal pressure. Even though I faced a lack of resources and opportunities I didn’t let that stop me,” she explained.  

When asked what advice they had for other future first generation college students, Morrison said, “It’s totally possible, you need to believe a lot in yourself and not lose sight of what you want to do.” Ruelas advised: “Always take advantage of your resources. Just because you experience a lack of them, search for them and look up programs that would benefit you for the long run.”