Alumni Spotlight: "I'm more than just a category" by Mike Gomez

mike1All my life people have tried to categorize me. In elementary school I was put in the category of having a learning disability and people began expecting less of me. I dropped out of high school because I was tired of feeling like I wasn’t good enough.

Roaming the streets, I found temporary comfort in gang life. When I got in trouble, I realized I was just putting myself in another category that I didn’t want to be in. Friends of mine died in the street life and I gradually started yearning for something more.

I went back to my childhood church, hoping I might find some kind of purpose there. My pastor saw the potential in me to be a leader, and he helped me to see that I was more than the categories I had been placed in. I could learn when I was passionate about the subject. He told me to get a book about leadership so that I could help lead a seminar. Before long, I was going back to Barnes & Noble to read nearly all the books in the self-development section.

I read books by Dale Carnegie, Richard Covey – books on psychology and autobiographies of people I admired. It finally struck me – there’s nothing wrong with me or my ability to learn.

During my time at Civicorps, I was determined to show everyone that I could take the same classes as everyomike-gomezne else – and pass! I finished the program in 8 months – the fastest possible amount of time anyone can move through the program.

In college now, I have a 3.6 GPA – As and Bs! My time at Civicorps helped me see that I am a scholar. I want to study Administration of Justice at CSU East Bay so that I can enter a career that will allow me to serve my East Oakland community. Simultaneously, I have been and will continue to be a leader through my work with youth in my church.

I want to let other youth with similar beginnings to know that they are so much more than the categories others have tried to place them in.

Filed under: Student Spotlight