What are the Struggles of Being 1st Generation?

by | Dec 19, 2022

To put it simply, first-generation immigrants are the children of parents that were born outside of the country they are currently settled. First-generation folks face unique challenges in their life, whether they are school-aged, college-aged, or currently in the workforce.

If you consider yourself a part of this group, you’re likely aware of a few of these challenges. We are proudly Queer-Afro-Latina-owned and not only understand this perspective but have lived it ourselves. You might be asking, what are the challenges? Here are just a few of the things first-gen folks must work to overcome.

Family Disputes – Many first-gen folks feel a sense of guilt when leaving their families to pursue higher education or work opportunities. There can be a sense of contrition of leaving financial responsibilities, or of taking advantage of opportunities that their parents never had access to.

Shame – First-gen folks often experience a lot of “firsts” in their families. Whether it’s because they are first to college, the first person in their family to take on a high-paying job opportunity, or any number of other reasons. This sense of misplaced shame can lead to “imposter syndrome,” or the feeling that you don’t deserve to be in a certain space.

Social Isolation – Insecurity and fear can turn into social isolation, coupled with financial insecurity, and it might feel harder for first-gen folks to feel included or to be able to participate in social events.

Discrimination – Over one-third of first-gen folks come from a racial or ethnic minority background in the United States. For this reason, first-gen folks are plagued by racial discrimination and disparity, as well as prejudices against their socio-economic and minority status.

What Can an Ally Do?

Practice Respect – Do not judge anyone based on their socioeconomic or minority status. Be open to all perspectives and appreciate new ones. Most of all, be an advocate and ally when you hear someone else is disrespectful.

Do Not Make Assumptions – Do not assume someone is or is not first-generation because of the way they look. Furthermore, do not assume they are financially disadvantaged.

Challenge Your Own Biases – Question the assumptions, prejudices, or preconceptions that you hold against certain groups of people.

Are you a first-generation immigrant in need of an effective therapy regimen? We offer individual therapy and many other options throughout Massachusetts.