I am the first person in my family to pursue a degree - Addison Pate
I was born in Memphis, Tennessee on February 2nd 1999. My mother was a single mom until I was seven years old when she married my step-father who I consider as my dad. She has been a hair-stylist her entire life, while my dad went straight into the military out of high school then, became a police officer and has been one for over 20 years. I am the first person in my family to pursue a degree, making me a first generation student. I am studying in Exercise Sports Science and I plan on going to graduate school to become a Physical Therapist.
"My advice to any incoming first generation student is to be as involved as you can be, and use as many resources as you need because the University is here to help you find yourself, be successful and be as significant as possible."
When I was in middle school, I found a pea-sized knot next to my knee and realized that it was growing at an alarming rate. After a visit with the first doctor, we were referred to an orthopedic specialist where we learned that my pea-sized knot was an osteochondroma which is a non-cancerous bone growth. As I grew (I am 6'2 now) It also grew. My benign bone tumor had a growth plate of its own, which forced me to spend a lot of time at the orthopedic office. This is when I realized that I wanted to expand my knowledge in science and health and help others with exercise and physical therapy. During this time, I also started playing the trombone. I played the trombone through middle school and high school and received numerous awards and praise for my musical talent. Throughout all of this, I also gained a personal relationship with Christ playing the trombone every Sunday in the Church's music ministry. Doing this I realized that all things are possible and I wanted to continue my passion in college.
Growing up and attending Memphis Tiger sporting events, the best part to me was watching the Mighty Sound of the South perform. I would watch the trombone players march and play louder than all of the other sections, and I knew that I wanted to do the same. Now that I had my goals set on the University of Memphis, all I had to do was follow them and throughout this process, I found the First Scholars program. It is a program that helps first generation students prepare and adapt to college life. This scholarship not only surrounds you with 19 other first generation students, from multiple backgrounds and diversities, but also gives you lifelong friends and a loving support system that helps with whatever needs you have.
I am a proud First Scholar, I am a Mighty Sound of the South member, I am a Tigers First member, I am a member of Up till' Dawn and I am also a Resident Advisor for Shirley C. Raines Centennial Place at the University of Memphis. At first, I did not know what to expect out of college, but thanks to the First Scholars Program, I am very involved and that is the number one thing I recommend for a first generation student. When I attended Frosh camp, that is where I met my first roommate, when I attended band camp, I connected with people of the same music interests as me. First Scholars and Tigers First has surrounded me with people that are going through the same experiences as me and Up Till' Dawn has surrounded me with people that want to help others just like I do. Being involved has helped me gain so many new friends and opportunities that I never thought I would have experienced. On campus there are many resources that help students maximize their potential. The library is open until 11 p.m every night of the week and also has many labs and assistants eager to help with any problems. It is full of any and all information you may need and is the number one resource that utilize on campus. The Tech Hub is also a major help on campus. This resource is located above the University Center food court, and is open 24/7 to assist with students having any technical difficulties. My advice to any incoming first generation students is to be as involved as you can be, and use as many resources as you need because the University is here to help you find yourself, be successful, and be as significant as possible.