photo of Brandon and Anthony with President Fuchs and President Emeritus Machen

The First-Gen Journey Together- MFOS Connections

Written by Brandon Kol, 3rd Year MFOS Scholar

Oftentimes the transition to college can be scary and even nerve wracking for incoming first-year students. As a first-generation college student, this feeling hit me twice as hard. Since I am the first person to go to college in my family, I had no one to rely on or go to for advice. For the first time ever, I felt truly alone and scared. This all changed when I met my future roommate and lifelong pal, Anthony Collins.

During the last few weeks of my senior year, I was nervous about everything related to UF whether that be picking my major, choosing a residence hall, or even worse finding a roommate to live with. All of these tasks creeped up on me and made me breakdown quite honestly. However, one day I got a notification from a roommate pairing website that someone was interested in being my roommate! It was Anthony or as I call him AJ. AJ had messaged me telling me that he was also a MFOS and AIM Program Scholar. We had the same exact scholarships and so we connected on Twitter from there.

Honestly, it felt like getting a good match from a dating site. Me and AJ instantly connected, because we were both geeks who loved video games and anime. We also had similar upbringings despite being from opposite ends of the state; he is from Fort Lauderdale and I grew up in Jacksonville. Literally, it was like a match made in Heaven.

It was the Summer of 2017 when we finally moved in together and this is where me and AJ got close. We both came in wanting to be engineers and doctors, but life has a funny way of changing things. As the semesters went on, AJ and I went through many different crises whether that be career paths or even things like relationships. I think the reason why we got so close is because we held each other through it all. If I had a bad day, I knew coming back to AJ in whatever residence hall we lived in would cheer me up.

The mutual motivation and great friendship that we share I can say has inspired me to not only do my best in college but to also enjoy it and experience it. One piece of advice we held onto from our first year at UF was that you will only be in undergrad once, so we really took that to heart. To this day, I still live with AJ and as we approach our senior year, I can say that it has been an interesting journey to say the least. Hopefully ours does not end after graduation!