Jessica Cobian – Princeton University
Jessica is a political science student from Merril, OR who wants to focus on research and policy for education. She has a passion for bringing equal opportunities to students from low-income backgrounds.
Princeton University, Class of 2022
Degree: Political Science
Why did you pick your area of study?
I’m a political science major and I plan to focus on Education research and policy. I’m passionate about bringing equal opportunity to students from low-income background; having experienced many obstacles coming from a low-income school I want to minimize the hurdles students from these schools have to overcome. My goal is to hopefully become a superintendent.
How do you think being a first generation student has affected your college experience?
Coming into college I had no guidance or advice to rely on; I have had to push myself out of my comfort zone and constantly seek help and answers. I did not have someone back home or anywhere that could answer my questions or relate to my experience, so it has been a challenge to stay motivated and on track. I often find myself wondering if I’m “doing college right”. I know there is no “right” way but being a first-generation student always makes you feel as though you’re doing something wrong or bound to mess up at any given moment.
What is your favorite subject or class you’ve taken?
Last spring, I took a course on Immigration theory. In this class we studied how counties, districts, and states reacted to higher levels of demographic change within their respective communities. For a final project we were asked to study a district and predict reactions, policies, and legislation based on what we had learned throughout the course, as well as advise the district representative on policies to help air a win to his/her campaign. I had a ton of fun doing the work for this class and found myself pouring over 80 hours into this project. I posed my theories and hypothesis to my professor and a year later at the midterm elections I saw my theories play out and be confirmed!
What has been the most impactful experience during your time in college?
The summer before freshman year started, I was invited to participate in the Freshman Scholars Institute (FSI). FSI helps first generation low-income students get adapted to life and classes on campus before the school year starts so that we can hit the ground running. During this program I took 2 Princeton classed and got to know my professors and became knowledgeable about resources on campus. FSI equipped me with the tools I needed to tackle the classroom, however it gave me so much more than that. This program provided me with a community of people who understood my background and what it was like to be low-income at an elite institution; many of the had faced the same struggles as me on their path to college. I found a community I could turn to whenever I needed motivation or help. My best friends on campus came from my FSI community and they have made my time here so much more enjoyable.