My name is Paula Maria Koszyk and I was born in Zagorz, Poland. Going through elementary school not knowing English always made me feel like an outcast. I always envied other students that could rely on their parents for help with homework, but my parents were learning from me instead of vice versa. Being a first generation college student made me grow up a lot faster and made me appreciate the opportunities college provides and will give me in the future. Everything I have ever learned has come through a teacher, a book, or the internet. I still struggle to understand some things in English, due to lack of exposure at home. I believe I'm a lot harder on myself than an average student because I always want to make my parents proud, since they came to this country for my benefit. Overall, I no longer can picture myself living in Europe, because I have established an amazing life and education here in Chicago/Iowa.

Paula Koszyk
2nd Year Nursing Student
The University of Iowa