Cassandra Guajardo

Editor’s Note: During these unprecedented times dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, there are UTRGV students who are making history. Without hesitation, these students are stepping up to the front lines of the outbreak to help mitigate the virus from spreading throughout their communities. We are integrating these front lines students into our usual Profiles in Excellence series to recognize the efforts and bravery of these students.

cassandra guajardo

Name: Cassandra Guajardo
Age: 22
Major: Theatre
College of Fine Arts
Hometown: Mission, Texas
High School: Palmview High School, Mission, Texas

I chose UTRGV because I had made such great connections at STC in their theatre program and they highly suggested that I attend school here. While at STC, I met Dr. Brian Warren who is now my favorite director to work with. I also met Miguel Salazar, who is now my incredible mentor. Because the theatre program at UTRGV is smaller than other universities, we can have that one on one connection that would not be possible at any other university in the theatrical field. This one on one with professors has opened amazing opportunities to me. I have led multiple teams and assisted my mentor during his classes.

What is your role in helping the community during the COVID-19 pandemic?
My role is making shields for the medical department for their testing.

What are some of the most challenging aspects of your job or duties while assisting in COVID-19?
I would say the most challenging part of my job is keeping track of time and managing my time throughout the day. I get so caught up in making shields that I’ll forget about my homework sometimes. Since I am working from home now, I take a few precautions. If I leave my house, I wear the mandatory mask and gloves. I also keep hand sanitizer with me, and I wash my hands when I get home. Before working, I sanitize my station, wash my hands and use hand sanitizer then put on gloves.

How is being able to assist during these difficult times helpful to your future?
Having the skills and the opportunity to help is rewarding to me. I am learning that we need to be united as a nation so we can all come out of this together. We cannot look at one another as strangers, but friends that need a hand in these dark times. I will apply these new skills and perspective in the future.

How are you maneuvering being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic? What are your greatest strengths and what are some challenges? 
It is difficult being a student in these current times. Having to worry about multiple deadlines, while still working. I am lucky because I don’t have to leave my home to work, but I have friends that don’t have a choice. These past few weeks haven been extremely tough to stay motivated, and I have friends that feel the exact same way. When the university announced that we would not be returning, and classes would continue online, I panicked because I didn’t have internet at my house. To keep up with my classes, I would go to the school, or friend’s houses to use the internet there. Which was very difficult and nerve racking for me. The thought of having to leave my house would bring me to a panic. All my professors were understanding of my situation and worked with me to find solutions.

What do you hope to achieve beyond completion of your major?
I hope to find a theatre to work with so I can continue to create beautiful art for people to enjoy. I also hope that one day, I can return and work with my mentor again, but as colleagues.

What advice or encouraging words do you have for fellow students pursuing degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic?
If people have the resources to take online classes, then I would encourage it. If people don’t have the resources, such as internet or a laptop, then taking classes will be a challenge. Things that have helped me during these times is being with my family, video chatting with friends helps a lot. I will spend the majority of my week working, but I leave the weekends to relax and paint.