In this week’s First Things First updates, Leon and Gretta answer the prompt “What Are You Feeling Good About So Far This Quarter? What Are You Feeling Anxious About?” The students share positives, like adjusting to dorm-life and joining UCI clubs online. They also reveal some of the things they are worried about, such as midterms and dealing with self-doubt. In response, their faculty mentors Prof. Kadandale and Prof. Casavantes Bradford relate their own anxieties and introduce helpful resources.

Leon Masuda

In her Week 4 First Things First update, Leon shares that she’s feeling good about adjusting to dorm life and getting used to her professors’ teaching styles. However, she also reveals the anxiety and self-doubt she feels regarding her upcoming midterms. 

Professor Kadandale Responds to Leon

Responding to the anxieties that Leon shared in her video, Prof. Kadandale shares his own fears of failure. He also commends Leon for her perseverance and encourages others to face their own self-doubts with grit and determination.


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Gretta Ozuna

In this week’s First Things First update, Gretta shares that she’s feeling good about joining various UCI clubs and building her community of support. With several midterms under her belt, she also explains that she’s nervous about the results of her exams.

Professor Casavates-Bradford Responds to Gretta

Responding to Gretta, Prof. Casavantes Bradford encourages her to check out the Student Life & Leadership website ( to learn about UCI’s online clubs and activities. She also shares valuable resources like those available at Student Success Initiatives ( and LARC ( 

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The First Things First project is an evolution of UCI’s First-Generation Faculty Initiative, designed to help first-gen students overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic. This new “virtual” mentorship program pairs two incoming UCI first-gen students with first-gen faculty members for a year-long, social-media-distributed conversation about the transition to university life. The goal of First Things First is to help UCI’s entire first-gen population, as well as first-gen students throughout higher education, build a sense of community—even in this remote college environment. To further this project, we invite you to share this article on your social media channels and with your network.