First Generation College Student Week at CW - Janna Gullery

Tue, 11/10/2020
Janna Gullery


Janna Gullery, Dean of Student Life and Empower Program at CW

When you get a college degree, you get more choices. That’s what Janna Gullery thought when she was a college student. But she wanted even more choices so she went for her master’s degree. Now as a Dean of Student Life and Empower Program at CW, she looks back and she is proud of her accomplishments. Her efforts paid off and now she helps other students to complete their journey.

Who or what inspires you to earn your degree? Why?
I grew up watching my parents struggle, and I knew I wanted a better quality of life. I always loved helping people and I knew that the best way to have a career in supporting others was to make sure I was secure and taken care of first - like putting on your oxygen mask before you help others put on theirs. I never thought I would go on to get a master's degree after graduating, and I never imagined myself working in a college. But I did both - and I've never looked back!

How has earning your college degree changed your life and the lives of your family members?
Earning a college degree, more than anything, has given me choices. My parents didn't have as many choices, and they had to make more sacrifices. Going to college taught me so much not only about my career, but also about so much more. I learned so much from my professors and fellow students who came from different backgrounds. I learned how to engage in difficult conversations, how to think critically, and how to be a good writer.

As a first-generation college graduate, who do you hope your story will inspire?
I hope it inspires every first-generation student who feels alone in the journey. I was where you were - I didn't understand financial aid or managing time on a college schedule, or the academic terms used. I balanced three jobs while going to school full-time, and I worried about paying bills. I pulled overnighters to get assignments done. But I was never prouder of myself than the day I graduated. If I can do it, I KNOW you can do it!


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The College of Westchester