Brenden Blake Perry
Degree: BS in Early Childhood/Elementary Education
Graduation Year: 2019
Your First-Gen Experience:
"Being a first-generation college student, navigating through college was a very difficult and challenging journey. It was a huge learning curve! It began with basic steps like learning how to fill out the FAFSA, registering for the correct classes and becoming a better manager of my time. As I progressed through my degree plan, the vision became clearer but the demand from my program never lessened, it only increased. At that point, I was determined to finish what I had started. Thankfully, in December 2019, I reached that hard-fought goal. I give credit to God for seeing me through a serious vehicle accident and an auto-immune disease diagnosis. Those were obstacles during my journey, but I pressed forward and refused to stop. I also give credit to my parents for instilling solid work ethics, determination and resiliency within me. Though the journey of a first generation college student is never easy, it is worth it. To any FGCS that might be wondering, “Can I really do this?” The answer is...Yes! You can do more than you ever imagined if you set a goal and never lose sight of it. "
Your Journey Since Graduation:
"Since graduating, I taught 3rd Grade at Springville Elementary School, which I was lucky enough to be hired before I officially graduated. However, I resigned at the end of last school year because of another opportunity. I live in Gadsden, so the commute was tough each day. I was very fortunate to be hired at John S. Jones Elementary School, which is where I did a practicum and my internship while at JSU. It truly is a blessing to work there and to be able to serve my 2nd Grade students well each day. "
Your Favorite Thing About JSU:
"The JSU Campus (especially during the fall) is absolutely gorgeous. There’s nothing better than sitting down with friends to have coffee in the library, while looking out at the beautiful view of the mountains."
Your Biggest Misconception About College:
"I suppose a misconception would be that I thought I would be the same person in college that I was in high school and that’s not true at all. For instance, in high school, I loved marching band. Marching band was my thing and I just knew that I was destined to be in the Marching Southerners. So, my freshman year at JSU, I enlisted in the Southerners and midway through the season, I found myself unhappy and confused. I went through a sort of identity crisis because I didn’t know who I was without band. When I lost my passion for it, I had to learn who I was and what other passions I had that would motivate me again."
Your Advice to Current First-Gens:
“'Press on!' Do not allow yourself to be overcome with fears of failure or negative thoughts from people who don’t support you. Continue on your path and pray for God’s will over your life. He will lead you in the right direction. If He is for you, who could be against you?"