Welcome to DiscountEDU, a podcast all about the first-generation lower-income (FGLI) student experience at Northwestern University. Join hosts Dallas Thurman, Jezel Martinez, Aryn Honaker, and Valentina Parra for their first episode as they dive into their transition from high school to a Big 10 university.

Dallas: Hi everyone. My name is Dallas Thurman. I'm a freshman studying Journalism at Medill. I live on the west side of Chicago. Yep. And my name is Dallas because I'm just cool like that, I wasn't named after the city or anything. My nickname is D Money, even though I don't have much money.

Jezel: Hi, my name is Jezel Martinez. I'm actually from Texas, not like Dallas who's fake. Okay not from Dallas, Texas, though. I'm from Rio Grande City, Texas, which is in the Rio Grande Valley, which is basically like I just live on the border wall. In case you wanted to know. I'm majoring in journalism and political science.

Valentina: What up FGLIs and non-FGLIs alike because you best believe I'm gonna be making my non-FGLI friends and non-friends listen to this. All my opps will be seated for the episode drop. I'm Valentina. I’m Valentina Parra and I'm from the South like the actual South. I'm from Mexico. Right now I'm a freshman majoring in political science, journalism, Latino Studies and/or. But Northwestern keeps testing my patience low key so we'll see how that changes in a few months.

Aryn: Hi guys my name is Aryn Honaker. I'm studying journalism like everyone else here. When people ask me where I'm from, I usually just say Flint, Michigan because the actual town I'm from is kind of irrelevant. But for specificity's sake, I'll clarify that I'm from a small town right outside of Flint called Swartz Creek.

Valentina: Let's go! Aryn Honaker town name just dropped. We are no longer just, city near Flint.

Dallas: Welcome to DiscountEDU, a podcast where we talk about our experiences as FGLI, or first-generation low-income students at Northwestern. In today's episode, we will be reflecting and talking about our transitions from high school to a Big 10 University.

Valentina: Yup you already know, we made it this far, we're here. But to be honest, sometimes it feels like we shouldn't be. Let's dive into it.

Dallas: So guys, like why did you want to come to Northwestern? You know that's the big question. Yeah, for me, I came here because Medill is basically number one in the nation for journalism. So I mean, you can't really top that. And even though I wanted to be far from home, it's still pretty convenient being only like an hour from home.

Aryn: Well, for me, I came here through Questbridge and Questbridge only has so many like partner colleges. And obviously, I knew I wanted to like major in journalism. So obviously like you already said Medill, number one journalism school-

Valentina: Actually, it's Columbia!

Jezel: Alright buddy.

Aryn: Opposite to Dallas, I actually wanted to be close to home. So the fact that it was you know, Michigan, Illinois, pretty close to each other so-

Valentina: They're dating.

Aryn: Yeah, they’re actually dating. But um yeah, so good journalism program, close to home and QuestBridge partner college.

Jezel: And Willie the Wildcat.

Aryn: Exactly.

Jezel: I came to Medill because, quick little Google search, top journalism school, that's what I did. I didn't initially want to major in journalism, and I only applied to journalism at Northwestern. So here I am, boom, sign of the Lord or whatever, if you're Mexican. Yeah. So I thought I was gonna do engineering, but I think if I was in McCormick, I’d want to die.

Valentina: I came to Northwestern because… I ask myself that every day sometimes. Nah tbh it's like, the only school where I could major in journalism without a master's. You know, like, I don't need a master's because, you know, it’s that good. But shout out Greenwell she-

Dallas: Ava Thompson-Greenwell.

Valentina: She’s keeping me in journalism for real.

Dallas: We were all in this summer program called Bridge and that's where we met. That's where we learned that journalism was pretty cool.

Valentina: That's literally the only sign I have that I do like journalism.

Dallas: But it was like Bridge was like a really good thing for me at least to like, come from high school to college and like, see what it would be like. I went to a boarding school called Culver Academies, in Culver, Indiana, so I was used to being away from home and all that but like, I don't know. It was good for me to like meet people like me because it was mostly FGLI people in our program.

Valentina: In Culver or in Bridge?

Dallas: No, Bridge. Not FGLI at a private school. I was, I've been on scholarship for like years now. So um yeah, just nice to see other people who identify as FGLI. Yeah.

Valentina: Yeah, we can talk a little bit about Bridge, that eased our transition into Northwestern a lot.

Aryn: Oh, for me, it was like a last-minute decision. Like I didn't find out about it until like, mid-July and like it starts in August.

Dallas: What?

Valentina: For real? How'd you get in?

Dallas: I applied in like March or like April or something.

Aryn: It was last minute, it was over the summer like...

Valentina: We could've easily not met.

Aryn: Yeah, like...

Dallas: You could've been in SAW.

Aryn: An advisor called my mom and like she like presented the idea.

Valentina: Oh, "Your daughter needs this."

Aryn: I was kind of iffy about it. Because like, this was like my one like summer break, I would get-

Jezel: So you hate us?

Aryn: After high school or college. I'm like, I don't know if I want to cut like, a whole month out of like my break. But like, I thought about it. And it's like, I think it could be like a good opportunity for me to make friends, get used to campus. I'm just like, whatever. I’ll just fill out the application. And then bam. I was in Evanston on August 5. And that's where I met them. But yeah, I love it. I don't regret it. You know? Definitely worth, you know, losing the one month of my summer.

Dallas: También.

Jezel: D money!

Valentina: That's not Dallas, that's Dayas.

Jezel: I did Bridge, um, I knew I was going to do Bridge, not like some people. Aryn Honaker. Um, I applied to Bridge just because I thought it would be like a good opportunity. And I think it like built like a really nice community. And we're all still like friends and we all identify as FGLI. My high school is like predominantly Mexican, or like 98% Mexican. So I think that was a good difference. But Bridge is really good for getting used to like the fast pace of like Northwestern because I was at a semester school.

Valentina: Why did you come to Bridge?

Dallas: Um, I mean, I think I got an email from like Daniel McKenzie.

Jezel: Real. Daniel!

Dallas: And he was like, Oh, this is a good opportunity. You should look into it. And kind of like, Aryn, I didn't know if I wanted to like, waste some of my summer like doing school. But honestly, like the past couple of summers, I've been in programs, so it really wouldn't have been that different. Yeah. I've never had a real job guys over the summer. But I mean, I mean, it's a sacrifice, but I guess it helped me get in here. I mean, I hope. Yeah I wouldn't. Yeah, I would definitely do Bridge over again. It was super fun. Even though I live in Chicago, I like never really went downtown, at least like on a train. So being able to like practice that during the summer.

Jezel: The red line.

Dallas: Yeah, the red line, the purple line. Yeah, that was pretty fun. It helped me get acclimated.

Valentina: Next stop, Howard.

Dallas: Next stop, Argyle.

Valentina: I love Argyle, such a beautiful name.

Dallas: Noyes.

Valentina: You know, I did Bridge because my roommate and I were, were talking and she was like, oh, have you heard about the Bridge program? And I was like, oh I've been on the fence. I don't know if I should. Is that like how you say it in English? On the fence? Um I just didn't know if I should apply or not. I was kind of like nervous. I am a very family-oriented person. And I, you know, we're all first-gen or I don't know if we are but like we're all FGLI but um.

Jezel: Girl, what are you talking about?

Valentina: I don't know like some people are FGLI but they only identify with one part.

Dallas: Oh, yeah yeah.

Valentina: You know.

Jezel: So just LI or FG.

Valentina: Just FG, pick a struggle. But like, not only am I first gen, but I like I'm the first one to leave my native country. So it was hard. My family didn't want it so much. But I was like, You know what, this way I can meet my roommate, I can meet other people. And I'm also really excited. Because either way, my friends were all going to college around the same like mid-August. Northwestern starts in mid-September. So might as well start before everyone and like flex to people that I'm in college.

Valentina: Uh oh! Seems like we’re out of-

Valentina: Uh oh! Seems like we’ve run out of time guys.

Dallas: Yeah, come back next time for a part two where we talk more in-depth about our transitions from high school to Northwestern. You know just FGLI stuff. Um yeah in the future we’ll be talking about our application process, resources for FGLI and yeah that’s pretty much it.

Valentina: Alright guys, in the future we’re gonna have better audio as well because we’re FGLI right now and this is all we can do but, you can donate to my personal Zelle account if you would like better audio. It’s 619-983, wait maybe I shouldn’t give out my number.

Dallas: This concludes the first episode of DiscountEDU. I'm Dallas, aka D Money.

Valentina: I'm Valentina.

Jezel: I'm Jezel.

Aryn: And I'm Aryn.

Dallas: Thanks for listening!

Valentina: Bye bye.

Thumbnail graphic by Olivia Abeyta / North by Northwestern