First generation graduate walks the line

Photo by Chalice Keith

Story by Paige Effinger, Contributing writer


Katlin Walker has lived in Murray her whole life, driving by Murray State every day since she was a child, and now her time here will come full circle as she graduates this May.

When she arrived at Murray State in Fall 2013, she became the first person in her family to attend a college or university.

Walker grew up around the university, and as a child knew she wanted to attend college despite being the first in her family. Walker said her parents did not feel the need to go to college as there wasn’t as much demand for a degree as there is today.

When it was time for her to start applying to colleges, Walker said her parents kept an open mind about her next step but encouraged her to pursue a degree.

“They educated me on what they thought I should do but knew that college is not meant for everyone,” Walker said.

As Walker nervously attended her first classes, getting lost the first day of school and meeting so many new people her first semester, she said the hardest part was her parents not understanding or being able to give advice.

“Freshman year brought many obstacles for me to overcome because my parents did not know what college life consisted of nor did they know how to answer my questions on what I was struggling with in classes,” Walker said.

She said she got most of the assistance she needed from her guidance counselors and other members of her sorority. She said she wouldn’t have gotten through it all without them.

Although it was not her parent’s decision to attend a university, Walker said her parent’s have been more than supportive in her journey through college. She said they have encouraged her every step of the way, and pushed her to keep striving.

Being from Murray, Walker’s parents told her that if she wanted to attend college, Murray State was the only realistic option.

“If I wanted to go to college, Murray State was the only opportunity that I had,” Walker said. “My parents said either you go to this college or your school wouldn’t be paid for.”

Walker’s mom works at The Murray Bank and her dad works at Saputo here in Murray.

As Walker will walk across the stage this month, she said her graduation will be a very special event for her family.

Walker will be graduating this spring with a degree in financial planning and hopes to start graduate school at Murray in the spring.