November 8 is recognized nationally as First-Generation College Celebration Day, which is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating students who are the first in their families to attend college and promoting educational access.

Laila McClimon
Youth and Community Development major, Sport Coaching minor
Indianapolis, Indiana 

What does being a first-generation student mean to you?
Being a first-generation student is being a leader and persevering against all odds. I have held many leadership roles in sports, on Student Council, and at my jobs. Most importantly, I have led by being a big sister. As a first-generation student, it’s important to lead by example and never stop dreaming. I know my siblings are looking up to me as I pave the way for them.

Why did you choose to come to Butler?
I submitted my application the day before the deadline. I wasn’t expecting to be accepted, but I was. I knew my opportunities would be limitless as a Butler student. 

I am the current President of The Almighty Alpha Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and I have served as the past Vice President and Historian of the organization. Through this opportunity, I have connected with many University officials that I would have never been able to connect with had I not received that acceptance letter.

What resources are available for first-generation students on campus?
As a first-generation student, I use counseling services most often. The Career and Professional Success office was a tremendous resource, especially as an Exploratory student. I could explore what I liked and not feel pressured to pick a major until it felt right.

What piece of advice would you share with incoming first-generation college students? 
To any incoming first-year student, no matter what your background is, always be your authentic self. Never change who you are just to fit in. What matters the most is that you make yourself happy!

What do you want to do upon graduation? 
Upon graduation, I’d like to intern or coach at a high school level. I would love to move out of state for a while, exploring and taking that time for myself. My ultimate goal is to run my own 24-hour community center that provides tutors, showers, food, and access to competitive Amateur Athletic Union sports for low-income families.