Yezi Gomez (National Louis University)
Yezi Gomez (she/her), a graduate of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and now a rising junior studying criminal justice and psychology at NLU, cites the support she received in CPS as a key factor in her decision to attend college in the city.
Being a Chicago student means having access to the resources and support systems that will help you thrive as a learner. “I personally love being a student at Chicago,” Gomez stated. “During my academic journey, I have encountered friendships that have helped me when I was struggling during the transition from high school to college. I graduated from a CPS High School, and I am really thankful for all the resources and help that I received from CPS. I have lived in other cities, but compared to Chicago few other cities give so much support to people.”
The bonds Gomez formed during her educational journey motivate her to make a positive impact after graduation. As a first-generation student herself, she knows the hurdles that many aspiring college learners must overcome to achieve their educational goals. “Growing up in a Latino household and being a first-generation student has been one of the most complicated journeys that I have had to live,” she recounted, discussing the challenges of the application process. “There were times when I needed guidance to fill out a form or paperwork for college. For support I would always go to my parents for help. However, even though my parents wanted to help me, they couldn’t because they didn’t know anything about how college works. So, I had to look for resources and workshops that would help me.”
Although it was difficult at times, Gomez’s experience has encouraged her to help others overcome the same obstacles she did. “After I graduate, I would like to help other women who are first-generation with guidance and resources for their academic journey,” she said.
Gomez was open to the possibility of studying in another place for college, considering a range of options for pursuing higher education. However, she ultimately decided that in terms of cultural diversity Chicago is hard to beat. “In my senior year of high school I was doing research on which university I would like to attend in the fall. During that process, I visited schools in other cities, but there was no other city like Chicago. The Windy City has a diverse cultural population. And that’s an aspect that not many cities have.” In addition, going to school where you grow up has its unique advantages. “Also, I decided to stay in Chicago because my parents support me whenever I am struggling,” Gomez added.
Ultimately, Gomez sees Chicago’s educational options, diversity of culture, and robust support networks as one of a kind when it comes to the college experience. “Studying in Chicago, you are going to encounter many schools that offer different majors, minors, masters and doctorate scholarship programs that will help you pursue a higher education. Also, as students our brain goes through rough situations, and sometimes we might need to clear our minds and have fun. Chicago is a beautiful city with also many FREE attractions if you are a student. Definitely, you can see the support that the city gives to students.”