Tennyson Coleman is a student at Temple University studying media studies and production. Tennyson is an aspiring news reporter.
Being the firstborn child in a family is kind of an honor that comes with unspoken responsibility. I’ve always likened it to being the crash test dummy.
The firstborn is first to learn to drive, most likely the first to be grounded for doing something wrong (knowingly or not), and in many cases, you are the first to face the prospect of going to college. That was the case for me.
I’m one of the first people in my family to leave home and go to college right after high school. Attending college was always a dream of mine as a kid, but there weren’t too many people in my family I could look to for advice about it.
Most of my family started out in the military and then went back to get their degrees later in life. To ensure that I found my way to college, my mother made sure that I stayed on top of my grades in high school and that I explored a wide array of extracurricular activities. However, there was one pivotal thing I lacked: confidence.
Growing up, I wasn’t the most confident guy and I attribute part of that to the fact that I was the oldest and I didn’t really have someone to look up to. Also, I never really had much of a relationship with my father until I was in college. This made high school challenging for me, especially considering the fact I transferred schools in 10th grade.
Since I didn’t have older siblings as examples, I did not really know how to make the big jump into college life. Initially, I didn’t know if I was making the right choice with attending Temple University. I was curious if I would like living in Philadelphia (a city I told myself I never wanted to move to as a kid), and many other doubts clouded my mind. However, I knew that, if I allowed it to be, college would be a place of significant self-discovery. This has been so true.
I prepared myself for college mentally the summer after high school graduation, and I haven’t looked back since. There have been hiccups along the way – I sometimes panicked and thought I didn’t belong early on – but I pulled through. I learned that I didn’t need someone else’s blueprint because I was carving my own path.
A friend, who graduated from Temple right before my freshman year, told me “Everyone is trying to figure out life, no matter how old you are.” I’ve always taken those words to heart.
I’m the oldest in my family and now with my college career winding down, I will be the first to go out and look for a job and build a career post-graduation. I am now very confident with my future prospects, and I wouldn’t change the past four years for anything.