Scholar Spotlight

Five Minutes with Gabby

College: Texas State University
Major: Psychology

Year: 2015 Dell Scholar

What was your college journey like to Texas State?
Being the first one in my entire family to be in college, attending Texas State University made me feel proud of myself. However, I always kept in mind how big of a responsibility it is. The staff and students have also always made me feel welcomed and accepted and the diversity of Texas State has helped me to understand that I am not alone.

I know that you started at Texas State then spent some time at Austin Community College (ACC) before returning to Texas State – what was that process like?
My time at ACC was very brief, but it did provide me with the opportunity to take a moment to pause from Texas State because I had so much going on in my personal life that in that moment, I did not want to be around big crowds and classes. While I was at ACC I also leaned on College Forward to help me with due dates for re-enrollment and registration.

You also studied abroad in Greece, what was that experience like?
I was recommended by my peers to study abroad in Greece through my psychology program. It was by far the most impactful experience I have ever had. We were in Greece for a month and the whole time there I could not believe how far I had made it. Academically, I was impacted because we visited museums with so much history and antiquities from an era when my favorite philosophers once lived such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Personally, this experience pushed me more to take risks, this had been the first time I had ever traveled alone and gotten on a plane!

I know that you have also been through a lot with your family.
What I can say is that college is really fun, but the way I look at it is that sometimes life gives you reality checks when you least expect it. The last three years it has been one after another.

In 2016, my aunt (who is like a mother to me) had to seek asylum with her family due to violence in our hometown in Mexico. As the only English speaker in our family, I was very involved.  That year I failed all my classes at Texas State and I just wanted to throw in the towel and take a long break from school. I am thankful for my coaches from College Forward because they convinced me to at least attend ACC so I would not fall behind. Unfortunately, my aunt and her family were denied asylum. Since then I have really pushed myself to take full advantage of my opportunity to attend school and to educate myself in order to help my family and others.

Then, in the summer of 2018, my mother and stepfather were in a car accident which sent my mother to the ICU for two weeks. They were unable to work for six months, and I had to step up, being the oldest of six, to help out with expenses. I had to work more, but I was determined to pass my classes since I had set my graduation date for Fall 2019. Those months were tough and stressful. Thanks to Dell Scholars, I did not have to worry about my school expenses, and that helped me tremendously.

And just when I felt like my world was getting better, earlier this year my father passed away. His passing has been the worst by far – even now it hurts to talk about it. He had missed my high school graduation and was very excited to attend my graduation from Texas State. His passing occurred right before finals and I still do not know how I managed to take my exams. He always said that I would make it far in life because of my intelligence. I worked with the Dell Scholars team a lot during that time and they helped me attend counseling and checked up on me and making sure that I was doing well. I also sought help from Texas State and they connected me with resources as well.

Wow Gabby, your perseverance and honesty is so empowering. As mentioned I know you will graduate this Fall, what advice have you learned along the way that you want to pass onto your fellow Scholars?
Never give up! I say it from the bottom of my heart. Life will get hard and there will be times that you feel like you cannot stand up, but use your resources! Talk, let your voice be heard and I assure you, someone will listen. Don’t bottle your emotions!