Nontraditional college student enrollment in the United States is rapidly growing and is predicted to continue to increase. Similarly, female students are currently the majority student population on college campuses. Although numerous studies document college student experiences, few focus on first-generation Latinas who are student-mothers at community colleges. The purpose of this study was to explore the educational experiences of first-generation Latina nontraditional student-mothers enrolled at a community college in California to identify the ways in which grit (ganas) and mindsets influenced their success. This inquiry followed Moustakas’s (1994) transcendental phenomenology research process. Individual interviews of five Latinas were analyzed using Moustakas’s modification of the Van Kaam method of analysis. The findings indicate that each woman had a similar yet unique story based upon their intersectional identities and the space in which they lived in at the time of this study. These stories collectively echoed a phenomenon rooted in cultural pervasiveness and generational continuity, an urgency to break cultural norms, and the grasp on ganas and mindsets that each participant held onto while striving to reach their educational goals. The participants’ stories illuminated an unanticipated connection to my own story as a Latina student-mother in search of a higher education. This connection provided me with a deeper understanding of my educational path and the realization that ganas and mindsets also influenced my educational experiences. The implications from this study offer ways to support this specific group of students both collectively and individually.
Gardea-Hernández, Myra, "¡Con Ganas Todo Se Puede! Journeys Of First-Generation Latina Nontraditional Community College Student-Mothers" (2021). Three Minute Research (3MR). 17.