Celebrating our first-generation students: an interview with Andrea Buchmann
An art major, floral arranger, and parent to three children
Auburn University is joining in the celebration of recognizing the week of November 2nd as National First-Generation College Student Week. First-generation students are an important population within the diverse student landscape at Auburn, and the College of Liberal Arts is proud to share a spotlight on Andrea Buchmann, a senior majoring in art.
Would you please tell us about yourself?
I was born and raised in Switzerland and immigrated to the United States twenty-one years ago. I have three children and work as a floral designer here in Auburn. A few years ago, a friend of mine encouraged me to go back to school and pursue my dream of studying art. Going back to school in my thirties, juggling family and work, has not always been easy, but I'm excited to announce I will be graduating with my Bachelor of Art in the spring of 2021.
How did you choose your major, and what do you want to do when you graduate?
I chose studio art as my major because art has always been my passion. So, when the opportunity to go back to school presented itself, I did not have to think twice about what I was going to study. I am a certified floral designer, and I have been working in the industry for many years. Upon graduation, I am hoping to develop workshops for geriatrics and special needs people which incorporate both floral design as well as other forms visual art, especially printmaking.
How has AU and/or CLA supported you as a first-generation student?
Having a different cultural background and never having attended college has been challenging at times, but I truly appreciate the professors and advisors here at Auburn who always took time to answer my questions and concerns. This really helped me adapt to college life.
How do you feel about being the first person in your family to attend college?
I have honestly never thought about this until now, and I must say I feel fortunate to have had the encouragement and opportunity to take this step and follow my passion. I am thankful for my parents and grandparents who have taught me what it means to have a good work ethic, and to persist. I am where I am because of those who came before me, and I feel very grateful for that.
What advice do you have for other first-generation students?
My advice for other first-generation students would be to never be afraid to ask questions and to build personal relationships with your peers, professors, and advisors to create a strong support network. You should never doubt yourself and your abilities, and you should always keep an open mind to learn as much as possible.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Since I am working almost full-time and taking three classes this semester, I don't have very much free time. With the little I do have though, I like to spend it outdoors, hiking in the woods or playing with Luna, my German shepherd, in the creek. I'm looking forward to next semester when I will be taking studio classes again, and I will have more time to be creative.