History of a Scholarship Holder: Luz Mariela Pacheco Hernández

By Karla Ortiz

Luz Mariela is a 22-year-old woman who is currently studying Tourism Management and Development at the Universidad Tecnológica de San Miguel de Allende.

Mariela, like any other girl, had a normal childhood. She liked to play in the dirt, make mud cakes and decorate them with plants from her mother’s or grandmother’s garden. She says that her childhood was good during the first years, surrounded by all her family at Christmas gatherings, on Three Kings Day, and for other celebrations. Everything began to get complicated when her grandparents got sick, and Mariela began to take on newresponsibilities. Her mother was always looking for her and her siblings, but she stopped paying attention to them to devote herself to the grandfather’s care.

“He spent a long time in bed,” Mariela said. She dedicated herself to cooking, cleaning the house, and looking after her siblings, especially the youngest. Although these new responsibilities took away some of her childhood, Mariela enjoyed spending time with her mother while learning how to do housework. When she was around 12, one year after her grandfather’s death, her maternal grandmother also fell ill, and responsibility for her family continued. A few years after her grandmother’s death, her mother had an accident that prevented her from carrying out her daily activities, leaving her in bed under the care of Mariela, her siblings, and her aunts. Mariela’s days were long. She had to get up daily at 5 in the morning, make breakfast and lunch for her dad, who was also leaving early for work, prepare her little sister to take her to kindergarten, and get herself ready to go to high school.

When she left school, Mariela couldn’t think of entertaining herself with her friends. She ran home to support her mother however she could, washing dishes, washing clothes, sweeping, mopping, preparing food, etc. For her, this time was very difficult.

Since she was a child, she was very dedicated to school and she had to concentrate on her studies and the house. “I consider myself a responsible student because since I was in preschool, I have always liked school. Preschool, elementary, high school—there was no year I didn’t receive an award. I was usually always in one of the top three places,” said Mariela.

“The Biblioteca Pública has been very supportive of me because since high school I have had this scholarship and maintained it, and now in college, La Biblioteca has helped me to get out the expenses of the university, and sometimes also the expenses of my sister’s career. Mariela has always supported her family, along with both her parents and her 20-year-old sister. She had to put her fears aside to encourage her sister and set an example for her. She told us that she has always been deeply rooted in her home, with her parents and community, and that starting to live in San Miguel was a great challenge for her: “to get home hungry and the food is not cooked, to have to see what you can get, or that you have to prepare something, and not to find your parents to give you a hug on the most difficult days is very ugly.” It was a huge struggle to overcome loneliness, more so now that her 20-year–old sister has moved in with her. She had to learn to be strong and not to show her sister the fears she was carrying, trying always to be an example to follow. Despite not studying psychology, what she planned from the beginning, Mariela has adapted and learned to love her career, especially because from the beginning she saw it as a bachelor’s degree which would allow her to travel a lot.

“I never liked the idea of staying in my community, finding a boyfriend, getting married, and living maintained by the husband. I think you can always encourage yourself and achieve what you want.” Events management is an area that attracts Mariela’s attention, and she wants to focus all her efforts on it. She is currently completing her last four months of study. In January she will do her internship. She will return in May and plans to be putting on her graduation cap by June. With one foot inside the university and another on the outside, she plans to find a job as a wedding planner or in a convention and event group. She is ready to go on learning and acquiring a lot of knowledge.

“Sometimes I see my classmates going out to party and skipping school. It makes me very sad because I think of my dad working outdoors, in the sunlight, to give me an education, and many times other children miss it.” Mariela is very grateful to her parents for supporting her in all of her aspirations. “Mainly, I would like to thank the library for supporting me through my high school studies. Without them I would not have been able to cover the expenses of my career. I would also like to tell young people that they should not give up. In life they will receive many no’s as answers, but the more they try, better the results they will get. When you give up, it is as if you are letting others take your place. If life offers opportunities, we must take advantage of them and make the most of them. I am sure that they will not repeat themselves or will not repeat themselves in the same way,” concluded Luz Mariela.

 

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