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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

My Guiding Star

Courtesy of Brianna Chavez
Brianna Chavez and her grandma Agapita Castro after her first Ballet Folklorico performance in 2005 at the Oswaldo A.B. Cantu/Pan American Recreation Center in Austin, Texas.

It may be funny to think, but I used to despise writing. Sometimes, I still get that feeling, but then I remember who I am doing this for.

During the summer of 2006, my grandma, Agapita Castro, watched after me while my parents worked. Instead of watching SpongeBob or going to the pool, she purchased school workbooks and taught me everything.

She forced me to write about family trips, books, poetry and create fictional stories. When my small hands cramped and I threw fits, she reminded me that I would thank her later for all I had done.

In fall 2017, I came to Texas State University to pursue a music degree because music surrounded my life. After completing general studies and basic classes, my grandma passed away unexpectedly in December 2019.

My grandma had Alzheimer’s. I knew something was wrong before when our study sessions were different and eventually stopped. Because of the big missing piece left in our family, I decided to take a semester break to spend more time with my family in 2020.

That year was the lowest I ever felt. Work laid me off after being promoted months before the pandemic. School was out of the question. My anxiety and depression reached an all-time high, so I returned to therapy for help.

The session opened my eyes to how much I covered up grieving the loss of my grandma, repressing my emotions and memories of her.

From there on I knew I should always remember, talk about and never forget her. She would be proud I was the first in my family to attend college, fulfilling something she wished for me.

I returned to campus in 2021 with a new outlook on life, family and perseverance. I switched from a music degree to journalism.

I immediately applied to be a Life and Arts contributor for The University Star. The former editor, Sarah Hernandez, welcomed me with open arms and I quickly found a community filled with writers like me.

While at The Star, I got my articles published in the Austin American-Statesman eight times. I achieved reporter status after speaking with Selena Quintanilla’s photographer, Al Rendon. I was the inaugural recipient of the $6,000 Ralph Langer Scholarship from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. Even my story got plagiarized.

To all the people I interviewed, you helped shape the journalist I am today. To all my editors and the Life and Arts section, you made The Star a second home for me and other storytellers. To my family, I appreciated your love and support through my major change, my many interviews and times when I acted like a hermit getting a story in on time.

To my grandpa, you are the strongest person I know and have been my biggest fan since I stepped onto campus. To my grandma, who guided me to all of these wonderful people and wonderful experiences in my life, we did it. Writing was not as bad after all.

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