Unlikely (2019 film) Commentary – Lydia Catterall

Every Davidson College student should watch Unlikely, a film about the challenges low-income students face in college. Prior to this screening, I thought I knew about the adversities facing low income students, since the majority of students in my high school faced these struggles. My school had a graduation rate of about 60% each year – my freshman class had around 1200 students, and I graduated with a senior class of around 750 students. I naively assumed that if a student made it to college, they would be fine. Unlikely showed me that the struggles of low-income students have a firm grip in the college experience. It especially hit home because one of the students telling his story in the film graduated from a high school in my public school system. I realized many of the students from my high school who I’d assumed had a straight road to success were struggling far more than I’d realized. I’ve caught glimpses of these struggles at Davidson – every now and then, a student voices their difficulty with maintaining a job or multiple jobs, meeting scholarship requirements, and keeping their grades up all at the same time. However, I think the extent of economic privilege at Davidson creates an environment in which those who are struggling with these issues feel afraid to speak about them, which is why every Davidson student should watch this film. All students need to be aware of the struggles of low-income students on campus so we can create an environment that is more responsive to their needs.

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