First-Gen Loper: David Vail overcomes fear of finances, failure

David Vail
Associate professor, history

What was the toughest thing you had to overcome to attend college?
Fear of failure: I worried I wouldn’t be able to pay for college or be successful in my classes. I loved history and teaching, but every semester I had to find ways to overcome this fear. Fortunately, I found a good support network to help.

Best advice for a first-generation student thinking about going to college?
Be bold: find a strong support network of faculty and friends. Ask questions. Pursue something you are passionate about.

Who was your biggest supporter in attending college? How did they help you?
I was a TRIO Student Support Services student, so my TRIO adviser had a huge influence in college as a first-gen. Every day he listened, offered advice and showed passion for his work.