Pitzer College junior Carlos Gomez ’24 learned a hard lesson about burnout when he juggled a full-time job while he had to attend college remotely during the 2020–21 academic year due to the pandemic. Now that he understands the importance of self-care and asking for help, he looks for different ways to support incoming students. Almost nothing makes Gomez more excited than mentoring them.
Gomez first became a resident assistant during the 2021–22 year to help students navigate their first year and to build community. “I understood the struggle of choosing classes, managing schedules, and finding time for events while also making sure I’m focusing on my self-care and checking in with how I’m feeling mentally, especially being away from home,” said Gomez.
Hoping to find ways to help even more students, Gomez discovered Chicano Latino Student Affairs (CLSA), which provides enrichment programs and services that enhance the academic success and personal development of Chicanx/Latinx students at The Claremont Colleges. Gomez decided to join CLSA’s Sponsor Program so that he could not only mentor more first-year students but also get advice for himself from sponsors from the other colleges.
Gomez had a challenging time making friends in the remote learning environment, but after returning to campus last fall, he created such deep friendships that he would almost consider them family. “You can be a close-knit community with the college being this small,” said Gomez. “You’re not facing that anxiousness of saying, ‘I’m by myself and I don’t know who to go to dinner with.’ You can find someone to go with you so easily.”
As a pre-med chemistry major and data science minor, Gomez knows firsthand how difficult it can be to manage academic demands and college life. His main advice for incoming students is to set aside time for themselves. “Things may be very overwhelming in your first semester, so make sure that you’re doing daily check-ins with yourself and that you’re seeking help if you need it,” said Gomez. “Make sure to have fun and make friends.”