First-Generation College Student Shares Special Connection with Son at COM
Ginger Pace has always sought to set an example for her family that hard work pays off. After receiving her GED, she enrolled at College of the Mainland (COM) in 2017, becoming the first generation in her family to attend college. Pace’s journey at COM will soon culminate this month when she graduates with an Associate of Arts in General Studies.
For the Texas City wife and mother of three, that accomplishment did not come easy. The past three years have been nothing short of a balancing act of managing academic studies with family commitments, responsibilities as an officer in Phi Theta Kappa honor society and volunteer work in the community. But as a first-generation college student, she always knew that her journey, albeit untraditional, would lay an important foundation for her entire family.
“At first it was a little hard,” Ginger explained. “I’m not your typical straight-out-of-high-school college student. But I finally decided that it was time for me to go to college. Growing up in a home that wasn’t educated, this is something that I felt that I needed to do in order to be successful for my family.”
After finding support from COM’s learning community and student support resources, she found the perfect balance between her personal, school and extracurricular obligations.
“Between family, volunteering and school, time budgeting is important,” Ginger said. “Being in the position I am right now, COM has given me every opportunity to finish my dream and know that my goal is attainable.”
Through her involvement in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, tutoring center and TRIO program, which offers supplementary support for first-generation college students navigating through their transition, Ginger soon found a much-needed network of support within the COM family. Those resources helped her to stay on track and remain focused on reaching her end goal.
“As a student here at College of the Mainland, it was easier when I found all the resources,” Ginger said. “I didn’t feel alone. I wasn’t here by myself. With all the involvement and all the help, it helped me to succeed and excel to where I’m at now.”
Upon graduation, Ginger plans to transfer to the University of Houston-Clear Lake in the spring to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. Ultimately, she plans to pursue a career as a family law attorney where she can put her passion to work.
“COM really helps you to accomplish a lot,” Ginger said. “Teaching the fundamentals before going to university, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown a lot. COM has boosted my confidence level so high.”
And that confidence was infectious. After seeing her successful experience at the college, Ginger’s son, Roger, was inspired to follow in his mother’s footsteps and enroll as a COM student.
A 2020 Texas City High School graduate, Roger has just completed his first semester at COM. After completing his associate degree, he plans to transfer to Texas A&M University at Galveston to study marine sciences.
“As her son, I am very proud to see her reach this point,” Roger said. “It has made me very proud and has really inspired me to work hard and be like her.”
While hard work has always come naturally for Ginger, that strong work ethic now has new meaning as she reflects on how her experiences at COM have helped to shape the next generation of scholars in her own family.
“Having three kids, I wanted them to see that their mother was successful in college,” Ginger said. “And I wanted to be an example for them.”
College of the Mainland will recognize Ginger along with the college’s other 2020 graduates during a virtual graduation ceremony on December 12 at 10 a.m. To view the live virtual celebration, visit COM’s YouTube or Facebook pages.