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First-generation student Q&A: Izzy Collins ’26

Randolph College is bringing a new honor society, Tri-Alpha, to campus.

Tri-Alpha, which celebrates the academic accomplishments of first-generation college students, will be led by the College’s Office of Identity, Culture, and Inclusion, and Carly Pearce, assistant director of Randolph’s Master of Arts in Coaching and Sport Leadership program.

An induction ceremony will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 8, National First-Generation to College Day.

As we prepare for the ceremony, we will be profiling some of Randolph’s first-generation students.

Izzy Collins ’26

Hometown: Mooresburg, Tennessee
What are you studying: Secondary Education in Mathematics

What does it mean to you to be a first-generation student? 

To be a first-generation student to me is such a proud moment. On both my parents’ side, I’m the only one who has ever gone to college. Hearing my dad tell all his work buddies about me gives me so much motivation to keep on going. Randolph was a hard decision for me because it’s about five hours away from home. But it has provided me with so much experience and opportunities. I will forever be thankful and grateful for my home here at Randolph College. 

How did you become interested in your major/field of study? 

In high school, I had a teacher who taught a senior math class that was set up to work at your own pace. I completed the whole course the day before Thanksgiving break. I helped my friends with the class every now and again. So once Thanksgiving break was over, the teacher asked me if I would help some of the other students. I would go into that class during other class periods and help other classes too. I fell in love with teaching and especially math. The only way you really know and understand something is if you can teach it effectively to someone else. Ever since then I wanted to be a math teacher to older kids. 

What advice would you give other first-gen students? 

Find something to keep your parents bragging about. Be the person your parents rave about when they meet someone. Give them a reason to be proud of the person they have raised. Be a first, and hopefully, down the line other people in the family will follow in your footsteps. And be proud of yourself. You are doing something that your family hasn’t done and that can be scary, but you are doing it one step at a time. 

What is special about Randolph College? 

From when I first stepped foot onto the campus, I felt like I was wanted and that I was home. Since we are such a small community, people know your name and know what you can accomplish. The community is so tight-knit that knowing faculty and staff will get you far in your journey at Randolph. Also because the campus is so small, there are so many opportunities for everyone.

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