First-Gen Faculty & Staff

Becky Garling


Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Majored in English, Seattle Pacific University, 2000


What challenges/barriers have you faced or overcome during college?

Having gone to a tiny rural religious school, I was woefully unfamiliar with some of the fundamental concepts and works that my peers easily referenced. I had a good financial aid package but financial worries were still always present, so I worked part-time throughout college. I had a cancer diagnosis and treatment regime during my sophomore year of college.


What advice would you give to someone else who is also first-gen?

I think many of us adopted a strategy of pretending to know more than we did, in order to stick out less. But while it might feel comfortable, this is not the most best long-term strategy. My peers who did more questioning formed closer relationships with their professors, went deeper with their own learning, and contributed to the understanding of those of us who had the same questions but were afraid to ask. Practice asking questions, train yourself to ask questions, and ask all the questions!