Olivia Gomez “I’m the first in my family to go to college, and it makes me feel very responsible to be an example for my younger sisters. And some day, they’ll be here too.”

“I want to work with kids, and I know that I have the patience to teach them well,” said Olivia Gomez, interviewed in her last semester at SMC. “I remember my own elementary teachers, and I’ve always looked at them as something great that gives shape to our lives. I’ve always just admired teachers. They give you all the practical skills you need to be successful. But they also give you an understanding of life itself.”

It took Olivia three years at SMC to ready herself for the ‘hop’ over to Cal State Dominguez Hills. But she reports that she’s had every sort of help imaginable along the way. “Beatriz Magallon in EOPS has always been there to help all of us. But all the counselors there are good, and they’ve helped me—as well as my friends—in every way possible. I’ve seen a lot of changes, a lot of growth, in myself since I came to SMC,” Olivia continues. “I’ve developed entirely different points of view about life. And my teachers and counselors? I actually study them, because they are the kinds of people that I will be some day.”

Olivia states, “SMC can be really tough, and there are a lot of very difficult classes that you have to go through. But if you don’t succeed here, it’s only because you don’t want to,” she continues. “Everyone here does everything they can to help. I’ve been offered tutoring, I’ve had personal conversations with counselors, and I’ve been given every opportunity. And these are busy people,” she adds. “But all of them—people like Terry Green in Math—just seem to stop what they’re doing when they see a student struggling. And they say, ‘What can I do to help you?’”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.