First-Gen Faith McCubbin: "Believe In Your Future"


Faith McCubbin knows where she is going – forward, head-on into her future. She can see it, feel it, and can't wait to embrace it. Now a junior in the Psychology and the 4+1 Criminal Justice programs, her view wasn't as confident when she first came to St. Ambrose as a first-generation student from East Moline, Illinois.

"The biggest challenge was definitely the financial aspect of things, financial aid and scholarships and working all that out, just because I was the first in my family to go through that process. It is really confusing to navigate, especially when you don't have anyone who's done that before," McCubbin said.

"My high school was really good about helping us with scholarships, but when it came to taking out loans and figuring that out, it was real confusing," she said. A family friend and the SAU Financial Aid Office guided her through the process. "It was still scary because you are taking on debt, but they walked us through everything and made sure we knew what was going on. They were great," she said.

McCubbin didn't know what to expect when she moved to campus and started classes. "I think all of my family felt that way, everyone was a little nervous for me," she said. "But I've definitely broken out of my shell and I've gotten really involved. I joined choir, the Campus Activity Board, and this past summer I was a STAR (Students Trained as Role models) and assisted with orientations which was really fun because I got to share my experiences with new students," she said.

In fact, she was one of four STARs who were first-generation students. They proudly wore a "Bee-First!" pin so incoming First-Gen students would know they could ask questions and be guided to resources. "I reassured them that our financial aid officers are great about supporting them and Fritz Dieudonné is super helpful. I told them there are more professors here who are First-Gen than they realize and they can help you walk through the experience and answer questions. In fact, all of the professors here are real encouraging, even if they are not a First-Gen," McCubbin said.

faith mccubbin

Faith McCubbin '23

"Just know that there are people here who believe in you, who are here to support you and guide you so you can believe in what your future holds. Everything will work out for you."

That experience supporting other students gave McCubbin a new perspective on all she's accomplished in the past two years.

"I've definitely grown and I see that I've become more independent, and that I am doing this for myself. Since freshman year, I've been taking on more of the college experience, like handling my loans and financial aid. That makes me even more proud of myself considering how confusing it was when I started and now I understand it, I feel like that is a huge accomplishment in and of itself," she said.

McCubbin will take part in the First-Generation Day celebration activities, with pride. "I think it is really cool that SAU recognizes that being a First-Gen is something to be proud of and there is something special about us," she said. That support means a lot to her, and in return, she wants to make sure the next round of First-Gen Ambrosians know they can do this, too.

"Believe in your future," she said, "because coming into college, I kind of had a negative outlook and I was apprehensive about what the future held. I thought I knew what I wanted to do but I ended up switching majors which for a first-generation student is a whole other thing you struggle with when you don't what that process looks like," she said.

"Just know that there are people here who believe in you, who are here to support you and guide you so you can believe in what your future holds. Everything will work out for you."

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