Victoria

First Generation College Students

Victoria Found Her Support System

Student Stories

By: Victoria Nugent, Environmental Studies

I remember when I first toured Bellarmine’s campus back in January of my senior year. I am so thankful I was able to visit before the pandemic struck. I was impressed with the professionalism of the staff and how informative they were during my Preview Day. Not to sound cheesy, but after the tour was over, I knew Bellarmine was the place for me. I could see myself enjoying my college career here. They provided me with heaps of financial aid, a major I was interested in, and a sense of community.

One of the deciding factors for my college selection was financial aid. How much would each my options give me? After I received all my financial information in the mail, I laid out all my college choices. Bellarmine offered me an amazing scholarship on top of a scholarship I received for visiting the campus.

Speaking of campus, I want to describe my experience of touring it. When I began walking to Knights Hall, I was greeted with people holding up figureheads of Bellarmine faculty and staff and cheering, welcoming us to Bellarmine. It made me smile and soon we were met with our tour guides.

The campus is absolutely beautiful, it’s hilly, so you will definitely get your steps in. I didn’t want to go somewhere too far away from home in case of emergencies and Bellarmine is only a 20-minute drive from me. I also wanted to go somewhere that had a relatively small campus so I would not be lost on my way to class.

Another huge factor in my college decision was my major. Ever since high school, I knew I wanted to do something in the environmental field. When I looked at Bellarmine's course catalog, I saw they offered a degree in environmental studies. In fact, Bellarmine is the first university in Louisville to offer an undergraduate environmental studies program. There is so much variety when it comes to the degree; it combines natural science classes with social science classes. I love the diversity of courses; with this major, I am able to dip my foot into numerous areas.

Not only did they offer the environmental studies degree, but they also had a learning community solely built on environmentalism. It was perfect for those interested in learning about different environmental issues and students majoring in environmental science or studies.

I was fearful of how I would adjust to the college lifestyle. Neither of my parents finished college, so I had no one to discuss the transition with. To ease those worries, Bellarmine has the Pioneer Scholars program, which solely focuses on helping first-generation students during their college careers. During your freshman year (if you are a first-gen college student), there’s an entire course called BU-022 that helps you transition into college, so you never have to feel alone in the process.

you’ll never feel alone here

This amazing program has allowed that sense of loneliness to completely dissipate. They did a great job coordinating groups because my group mostly consists of science majors. If I ever have questions regarding scheduling of classes, they are my support system. The mentors in my group have also informed me about different clubs on campus as well as how to access them on Engage. If I ever have questions about anything, college, in particular, I will never hesitate to reach out to them.

Bellarmine demonstrates a strong sense of community; you’ll never feel alone here. There is always something to do on campus, whether it be Silent Disco in the Quad or a panel discussion in Centro. Not only are there plenty of events, but there are also a ton of resources if you are ever stressed. Bellarmine offers a variety of clubs and academic programs. I can gladly say that I am so happy with my college choice.

Tags: First Generation College Students , learning communities , Student Life

About Bellarmine University

Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.