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Lulu Diaz


Striving toward Success

Lulu Diaz, a first-generation child, youth and family studies major, began her college journey with the goal to make her parents proud.
– Lulu Diaz –

I knew I had a good support system, but I didn’t think I’d make it. Being a first-generation student is very hard because of the high expectations. I tried to describe little aspects of college to my parents, but they didn’t understand because they didn’t attend college.

At the beginning of my sophomore year, my study skills started to go downhill. I think that was one of the first semesters I failed a class. I was like, “I don't think school is for me.” My parents said, “You can do it.”

Even though my parents told me all the encouraging words you can ever tell your child, I still thought to myself—What if I don't finish? What if I don't get through this? What if I'm going to be a disappointment?

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portrait of LuluLulu with friendsportrait of Lulu
While Lulu's college experience had a challenging start, she was able to find resources and support on campus to succeed.

My biggest worry was coming into college and not finding my people. I’m glad I always had Nebraska College Preparatory Academy [a college access program that prepares academically talented, first-generation students for college and future careers] as a support system. My friends in NCPA and I help each other through everything. Whenever we need to cry, we go to each other. Whenever we need to rant, we text each other.

The staff at NCPA is very encouraging in getting me out of my comfort zone. They’ve given me so much. In many meetings with NCPA staff, I learned not to put a lot on my plate because I didn't yet know how to navigate college.

I also started getting into the gym. The East Campus Rec became my home. Then, I fell in love with running. I ran every day, and I joined a running competition. I was tired of isolating myself and not going out. I decided to be courageous and bold.

“I’m glad I always had Nebraska College Preparatory as a support system. My friends in NCPA and I help each other through everything.”

— Lulu Diaz

The mentorship and support she received inspired Lulu to help students acclimate on campus.

I help students with any financial and enrollment needs through Husker Hub. I assist them with their bills or any types of paper they may be required to submit. I have plenty of parents who call, wanting to know what steps they need to take next. I've been in their position before—worrying about money and college. I know where they're coming from, and I understand their frustration.

During New Student Enrollment, I met with the incoming students to let them know the basics of college. Their excitement gives me excitement. I like helping others who are in my position. I know exactly what they're feeling, and I know how to navigate around that. I enjoy getting to know the students.