Student of the Month: January 2021

Ollie Pritchard

An informal portrait of Ollie in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations Ollie Pritchard, on being January’s Student Of The Month!! Ollie is a Political Science major, graduating in Spring of 2021.

Q: Tell us about yourself?
I am a political science major at UMBC. I am graduating in Spring 2021. My goal is to get my PhD, and research the effects of the internet on politics.

Q: Do you think the term First Generation is seen as positive or negative? And why? If negative what can we do to change the connotation of the term First Gen?
I think it is a positive term! It acknowledges the work that students who may come from disadvantaged situations do to attend school, and the accomplishment that they have achieved.

Q: What advice would you give a First Gen student who is first starting college or about to start the college process?
The main advice I have to anyone starting college is to learn how to allocate your time. No matter how many people tell you how much time you will need to devote to certain classes, you also have to consider your other responsibilities and mental health. Make sure to devote time to relaxing, as hard as it may be when you have other things to do. If you work too hard without taking adequate brakes, you’ll get a serious case of burnout.

Q: What would you like to see different for future First Gen students?
Peer interaction was one of the most helpful things for me. I have a friend who was a few years ahead of me in terms of college education, who is also a first generation student. Being able to ask them if the amount of stress I was feeling was normal or if I was doing something incorrectly was incredibly helpful. I would like to see more methods to build bridges between first gen students for peer counseling.

Q: What do you like to do in your down time?
I love making music! I play piano, guitar, ukulele, bass, violin, trombone, and I’m a trained singer. Having a hands-on hobby is really helpful in curbing stress.

Q: What is something you wish you knew before that you know now?
The most important person to work for is yourself. When I first started college, I had the expectations of my family on my shoulders. I realized that working for them wasn’t helping motivate me, and left me feeling troubled. As soon as I started thinking about what I really wanted to do, I started feeling more fulfilled by my work.

Q: As a First Gen Student, what are some events you would be interested in?
Because I attend UMBC at USG, I have been unable to participate in a lot of in-person events. COVID-19 has been incredibly difficult, but it has provided more opportunities to participate in online activities. I would like to see online activities continue, even once in-person instruction is safe again.