Gabrielle is a graduate student completing a Master of Arts in English Education at UPRM. She has been part of Her Campus UPRM, Future Teachers Association (AFM), the Digital Humanities Internship, the Writing & Communications Collective, and the UPRM Dance Team. Aside from her academic achievements, she formed a part of Mayawest Dance Project, Western Ballet Theatre, Vox Populi, Mu Alpha Phi sorority, and the Alianza Artística Revolucionaria.
Back when I was in high school, I remember having no idea whatsoever what to do career-wise. My mom was a teacher who studied Agriculture; my father was a professor of Entomology so naturally I thought Science was it for me. And it was, until 2010 when I discovered Twilight. That was my gateway to other fiction like YA dystopia and Shakespeare. Then my older sister gave me some of her Harry Potter books, and then I remember devouring The sixth and seventh book of series as if it were nothing.
I pondered on Dermatology and other things like that because that’s where the money was. However, literature was where my heart was. So I chose English and started this journey in 2015. I don’t regret it one bit.
I knew next to nothing when I started English as a freshmen. I remember those first classes; I felt like I had been starving and never realized it. In my previous school, while it was nice and the teachers were darling and kind, they didn’t give importance to reading “the greats” or to literature at all. At least, not outside the Scholastic book club. The little I knew was because I read it on my own. Coming into the department fresh as a peach, not knowing anything, I think was magical.
There came a time I lived between several books; the real one where I was part of the UPRM Dance Team and the Sorority Mu Alpha Phi; and then the ones Shakespeare created; the ones deep in Norse myth; the spicy Canterbury Tales and the ones created out of Racial/Cultural minorities. If I don’t think about the tests; it was truly magical. The professors were like Merlin and I was little Arthur. If I use a lot of fantasy references, I apologize; it’s because I’m currently taking a Fantasy Lit course. WHICH I LOVE. It’s like my hobby IS my work.
In terms of writing, I worked for years as a writer for HerCampus UPRM. I’ve published many stories and poems in magazines like Sábanas Bilingual Literary Magazine as well as my own book, Partida en dos. Currently, I’m working on my thesis which is on another one of my obsessions and as soon as I am able, I already have an idea for a fantasy novel. I don’t think I could’ve gotten here if it were not for my classes and the Magi-esque literature professors.
In terms of academic accomplishments, I graduated from my BA on June 2020 and I got four awards. These were the departmental awards; the Rafael Cordero award from the Teacher Preparation Program, the award of the Arts and Sciences faculty; and, the award from campus. While the accomplishment in itself was amazing, what truly rocked my world was seeing my father (current Entomology professor) strut by my side to accept my awards, and my mother thankful for the face mask which hid her crying grimace. In the end, I guess I won five awards, making my parents proud was the fifth.
Currently, I am working on my second book of poems, which is slowly coming along because of the hectic agenda we call life as an academic. And, as I mentioned beforehand, I’m devouring books and learning more so that the idea I have for a fantasy novel can come true.
All in all, I aspire to be someone akin to Professor Keating (portrayed by Robin Williams for the film, “Dead Poets Society”) and make a living doing things I’m passionate about: reading & writing. I believe that working hard and giving it your all is the key to success, and, hopefully, if you chose to study something you love, that this hard work will turn out to be incredibly fun.