Jose Luis Gomez- Phoenix, Arizona
Class of 2016
As a second-year from Phoenix, Arizona, I am humbled by the community of Quest Scholars that has helped make Pomona my new home.
My mother grew up on the warm beach lands of Northern Mexico, while my father lived a couple hundred miles north in Southern California—connected by the ocean they shared and eventually by the chance that brought them together. But the realities of their different backgrounds presented a predicament: were their children to be raised as Mexican citizens in a country of beautiful music, delicious food, and community values, or would they better thrive as Americans in a country of innovation and independence, where harnessing the power of dreams and the individual spirit was a promise? Focusing on the comfort and beauty of her country, my mother chose the former; my father agreed.
I enjoyed a rather safe and carefree childhood in Northern Mexico. Relative to my peers, I was privileged.
But in 2002, when my father suffered from a head injury at work and began to lose his vision, he rushed to join the family in Mexico. Our goal then became to care for him. The road toward his surgery was tough, for we had to find ways to finance his needs while still providing for the family. After my father’s costly procedure, the family saw no choice but to migrate to the United States, where my father could once again work and we could take care of him.
The move to America exacerbated tensions within my family, which eventually resulted in a tumultuous separation for my parents. Since then, my mother has worked to create some stability for my brother and me. Through the frequent moves in search of affordable shelter, the long commutes to back-breaking work, and the stress and worry of dealing with the U.S. immigration system, she has shown me the strength and resilience of the human spirit.
The experiences I’ve had in these two neighboring—but not always collaborative—countries has given me an appreciation for observation. I’ve had to adapt to new environments throughout my life, and this constant movement has allowed me to learn how to sympathize with people’s plights, acknowledge the beauty of every land, and cherish the story each new encounter brings. Now in my second year at Pomona, I am grateful for the all the opportunities this setting has created to challenge me to think critically about the world around me.
I’m interested in majoring in Public Policy Analysis, for I hope to use my knowledge to find comprehensive solutions for America’s social issues. And seeing as how my mother made my education of the utmost importance with every move we made, I believe it is my responsibility to continue her legacy and make sure all her dedication was not in vain. In honoring my mother’s legacy, I hope to use my passion for education to create new opportunities for America’s youth.