Living in the Shadow of a College Student

Primary tabs

On Thursday afternoon of last week, DeAndre Wideman took notes in his freshman advanced placement human geography class at Langston Hughes High School in Fairburn, Georgia. Life couldn’t have been more different on Friday when he sat in an organic chemistry class at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“I noticed the big difference between college classes and high school classes,” DeAndre said afterwards.

DeAndre was one of approximately 30 metro Atlanta area high school students who participated in Shadow Day on October 18. The event was hosted by FirstGen, a Georgia Tech, student-run organization that focuses on first-generation students (students who are the first members of their family to attend college). The organization was created in 2012 to help current and future first generation college students make the transition from high school, provide extra tutoring and offer support to help the students succeed.

Shadow Day began with information sessions about admissions, major decisions and a student panel. The high school students then followed a Georgia Tech student to a lecture and around campus on a tour. DeAndre was led by Cassee Cain, a second-year chemical engineering student. The two attended a class in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, checked out the view on its roof and visited the biomedical quad on the north side of campus.

“The main reason I came to Tech was because a student showed me around,” said Cain. “I enjoyed the personal experience I received and want to share this same experience with a prospective student.”

FirstGen, which includes nearly 150 student volunteers, plans to continue expanding its programs and will host future Shadow Days. Alice Lee organized the event and wants to see high school students of all ages participate.

“I think freshmen are a good population to reach out to,” said Lee, a second-year student. “They can use their experiences from Shadow Day to plan the rest of their four years in high school.”

That includes DeAndre. His life will return to normal this week when he returns to Langston Hughes High. He’s only a freshman but is already evaluating colleges. He says Georgia Tech is now his top choice.  

“The campus is beautiful, the students are nice and the classes are great,” he said. “I look forward to the independence that college offers.”

Written by Institute Communications Student Assistant Meghan Feeney




  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Jason Maderer
  • Created:10/21/2013
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016