Mike Geraci '91 | "Ask Yourself What You're Missing"

Mike Geraci’s parents didn’t go to college, but they worked to pay for their son to go to private high school school.

“It was a blue-collar family, but they valued education,” Geraci said. “They wanted me to go to college but were probably terrified I would want to go and they couldn’t send me for financial reasons.”

Navigating the college process was a foreign experience.

He applied to the big state schools, because that’s what everyone was doing, and he applied to Pacific because it was nearby.

“I knew I could get there with public transportation.”

He drove a friend’s car to Forest Grove to visit, and at summer registration, he met Professor Dave Boersema.

“He said, ‘What do you like?’ and I said, ‘I like writing, maybe journalism.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I think we have those classes,’” Geraci recalled. “It dawned on me I didn’t even know if they had a program I was interested in.”

Pacific does, in fact, have a journalism program, within the Department of Media Arts, where Geraci is now an associate professor.

His advice to fellow first-generation students: Use your social networks, ask people questions. And, he said, ask yourself what you’re missing.

“For me, it was going abroad,” he said. “As transformative as college was, even a short course abroad would have expanded my horizons even more.”

First-Generation at Pacific | About 24 percent of Pacific University undergraduate students are “first-generation,” meaning they are the first in their families to attend college. Pacific faculty and staff are seeking out ways to better support those students through their college experience, including a recent luncheon where staff and faculty like Geraci shared their own first-generation experiences. “There are people here to help you,” said College of Arts & Sciences Dean Lisa Carstens.”We already know you can do it; you’re here. We just want to make it smoother.”

Apr. 13, 2016