As a first-generation student, Sharlon Bolos faced applying to college on her own while assimilating to a pandemic and finding balance in her life.
Bolos is a senior public relations major minoring in comparative world literature and will be graduating this month.
When it came to attending college, her Filipino parents did not know how to help. She used other resources and reached out to university offices for guidance.
“I couldn’t ask my parents anything, they were like, ‘What is FAFSA? What is financial aid?’” Bolos said. “But eventually I kind of learned and taught myself.”
Bolos first entered CSULB before the COVID-19 pandemic in fall 2019. When she first started, her struggled to ask professors for help and did not have any friends at school.
Before Bolos could fully adjust to her college life, COVID-19 broke out and she had to switch from in-person to online classes. She found it difficult to manage her time in an online environment and dealing with loud environments started affecting her grades.
Gradually, she became used to balancing online school, her personal life and mental health. She was able to start raising her grades and join 22 West Media as a volunteer, helping with videos and pitching ideas.
Bolos believes that her major contribution to CSULB derives from class projects. In her Journalism 374 class, she talked to local businesses and informed them of the resources CSULB provided.
“I feel like that’s my role, just working on small projects that benefited myself and CSULB,” Bolos said. “Because people were able to see the type of students CSULB has.”
Bolos is currently in her first internship at Well-Suited, where she creates press materials, donation letters and helps make videos. Bolos said that she wants to gain enough experience to get an entry-level position at a public relations agency. She hopes to specialize in the entertainment industry and work for companies such as Paramount, Disney and other movie companies.
She said that the best thing about CSULB is its diversity, and she is thankful to the Liberal Arts Department.
“There are a lot of professors that will give you guidance and they will help you with your writing,” Bolos said.