Bumping up against the Pioneer: being FIRST

  • Martin Shiel-Diego Durham University
Keywords: first-generation college, higher education, border living, student workers, polemic


Martin Shiel-Diego is a Spanish-born Geordie and first-gen history and politics student. This, alongside a healthy dose of punk music and ideals, has born a constant fascination with the why of identity creation and interaction. In this piece, he seeks to explore both the universal and particular aspects of what being first-gen means, and the constant torsion resulting from such an identity. The piece takes the form of a narratively driven polemic, through which he hopes to construct a commonality of understanding between the intersecting facets that constitute the lives of first-gen scholars.