Light at the end of the tunnel



For those that personally know me, they are familiar with the passion and energy that comes with my personality and presence. I’m not one to really explain myself, but there is a story for the fire that fuels me.

I strive to live my life by Maya Angelou’s remarkable poem, ‘Every woman should’. Shout out to my Chicago Scholars mentor, Janice for sending this to me during my sophomore year. The most inspirational poem that all ladies and women should read. Nothing I say will do justice on how this poem really does affect you line by line. (Read it)

I have this poem taped to my desk because I have had my fair share of barriers in life. This poem pushes me forward.  Maya Angelou’s Every Woman Should describes exactly what I wanted in life.

I want enough money to be able to just get up and move if I chose.

I want a sense of control for my destiny.

I want to accept the fact that my childhood wasn’t the best, but it’s over.

and more…

I go about life seeking adventures on paths less taken, embracing opportunities for growth, and developing my sense of understanding.

I don’t want to lose focus that my goal with everything I pursue is to grow. My biggest fear is to lose that focus.

Please don’t lose focus of what truly matters to you. Don’t get caught up in the frustration and comfort of life. Don’t let anything satisfy you. Don’t let nothing satisfy you.

Explore your happiness. Challenge your potential to grow. Push your perceptions. Understand your past. Learn from the lessons of your story.

You made your goals for a reason. You want to move forward with life. Move past the pain you’ve had. You want to experience something more. Make goals. Remind yourself the purpose for them. For your purpose drives you, the goals evolve you. Write them down. Take a deep breath and think about them ALL THE TIME

..Because the biggest regret is losing focus of your purpose…






Stay Positive, Work Hard, and Make it Happen

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Morning my lovely followers,

It’s Wednesday and we are halfway done with the week. As high aspiring individuals, we have to keep our energy high and motivation intact. As you sip your tea or latte, take a deep breath and tell yourself, “stay positive.” Today will have its share of challenges and you have to mentally prepare for them. Secondly, work hard today. Every day you should be putting in work. Work could be at your actual job, reviewing your notes for a class, or actually getting your workout done. Work hard and play hard, but you can’t be playing if you’re putting in no work. Lastly, look at your to-do list and make it happen. Achievers make it happen no matter what it may be. You can make today successful with all the small actions you take.

But Gaby, how can I put these actually into action?

a. Wake up early and get your day started!

You can prepare for life simply by preparing for your day. Brief yourself on your schedule. Coordinate your outfit. Have to meet up with anyone today? Gym time already set? Meals also?

b. Schedule time to work hard. In my daily life, I’m busy throughout the entire business day, so this leaves me to study at night. I wasn’t a night owl, but I adapted in order to make sure I had time to actually put my work in.

c. Make it happen? Break down big projects into smaller tasks. Need to make sure that paper gets finished in the next few weeks? Schedule those writing center appointments. Plan out when you should have your first draft due. Brainstorm your ideas!

Hope you appreciate these words of motivation! Leave a comment, share, and subscribe.



Studying Business Abroad!


Like what you see? This was my view of the Shanghai skyline on a boat tour when I was studying abroad last semester (Spring 2015). A few of my peers and I would like to share our advice on how to make studying abroad a reality for YOU.

Studying business in a different country adds profound value to your personal experience and your business education. Everyday, you are learning something new: whether how to say Finance in the native language or the way business meetings are conducted in that country. Hours of world class learning, literally. 

How to get started with making study abroad your reality? Just like any significant project… RESEARCH.

A few things to consider:

Do you have a country in mind you want to study at? Not vacation at… STUDY. You will be spending months living, learning, and exploring this place. You want a country that will be your classroom. A place that you hear about and the first thing that pops into your head is: Business. For me, I kept reading about China in the Wall Street Journal and knew it had the second largest economy, so I started my research on China as a country and study abroad programs there. When I came back home, I was able to connect my abroad experience to my career interests and business in general.

If you don’t know where to start, a great place (and a must-go-to place) would be the Study Abroad Office at UIC ( ). Attend a First Steps session to brainstorm where you would like to study!

Also, talk to your advisor at the College of Business about what semester would be best for you. The sooner you know the semester you want to study abroad in, the sooner you can prepare your materials.

In my process, I knew a year in advance of the semester I wanted to be abroad in, the program I wanted, and the country of my interest. I took advantage of that time to research scholarships for that semester and the deadlines for my specific program. The more you can prepare ahead of time, the less you have to work on during the academic semester between classes, work, and your extracurriculars.

By now, you’re probably breaking down either one of two topics with me: Finances and Time. 

Many people asked me how I financed my study abroad trip. I often reply with one word: Scholarships. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, let me tell you that there are many scholarships out there JUST TO STUDY ABROAD. At UIC, I recommend visiting two offices that can assist your search.

1. The Study Abroad Office

2. The Office of Special Scholarships

Another question is how did I find the time? Or my peers would tell me, “I’d love to study abroad, but I don’t have the time.” Everyone’s academic path is different than the next. As I stated before, I would advise talking to your advisor and see if studying abroad could be a fit for you soon. For my study abroad plans, I found that I was studying abroad sooner than most students, so that meant I would be taking general business core classes once I returned whereas most of my classmates will be almost done with business core classes. I would be taking a comfortable amount of classes for my next two years at UIC, but I had a balance of classes for the business core and my major.

Comment, Share, and Like this post! Feedback is welcomed. Follow me on social media to get more updates on tips/tricks for going “Above and Beyond in Business.”

Twitter: @gabs_santoyo

Instagram: @collegegirlgaby

Email me at  for questions/concerns!

Check out my friend, Patricia’s blog! ( She is studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain this Fall semester!

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I got the Chicago Blues…

Dear Chicago, I miss you so much. If I could get a care package, it would be a burger from Portillo’s, the Acid Rap album, and a poster of the CTA map. IMG_9927That would be “DA BEST”. I guess the reason I’m excited is because I have MAJOR plans to accomplish when I come back. You guys don’t understand, I’m coming back in full speed. I plan to just go around the city again and again. Lupe said it for me, “I wanna fall in love [with] Chicago”. Okay, I changed that. But I got Chicago goals. I’m visiting EVERY neighborhood I possibly can in Chicago. Yeah, I said it. North Side. South side, West side, and if you wanna say, “East side”. Coffee from everywhere. I’m going to the Museum of Science & Industry. Art Museum. Planetarium. ALL the beaches! I miss CHICAGO STREET STYLE. Mannnnn. Nikes, Curly Haired Ladies, Dreads, Camo everythang, New Balance, collared shirts, and just the creativitiy. I miss walls of graffiti, elote, State Street, and HAROLDS. I miss seeing everyone out in their bikes. Don’t worry, I got other plans aside from venturing around Chicago… Thinkin’ of a master plan.

See yall in a month!


Faith in humanity restored at the visa office (Shanghai)

I just want to give a major shout out to the man I encountered at the visa place in Shanghai. You don’t fully understand the word lost until you’re in a country where you barely speak the language and everything around you is unfamiliar (how immigrants feel when they come to the US). It almost takes a shot at your ego. I’m walking around not knowing where anything is. So I took a risk at looking foolish but a step forward to SOMETHING. I ask this older man sitting against one of the counters who is just looking around looking kinda happy. I ask him with my Chin-glish “visa nǎlì?” He points to upstairs in a reassuring manner like I’ll be fine just listen to him. When I get there, I forgot I needed a picture. Back downstairs I go, I ask him, “Picture?” and he points in one direction. As I’m walking, I start to veer away from what he said. He goes “AY! AY!” Of course, when you’re in China, I just thought the yelling/shouting was someone else (a norm). Then I turned around, he points to his right and looked at me. In my head “Ohhh, right. haha oops…” Then afterwards he catches me leaving and says “print picture there” as I’m almost about to forget my pictures. I laugh and say thank you in chinese. He laughs back and says “no thanks needed” in Chinese.

Being in China has reminded me of 4 people near and VERY dear to my heart. My grandparents. On both sides of my family, they came to the US not knowing much English. To this day, one of them can understand English well but still feel like they are “very bad” (which isn’t true at all). My Abuelos Pelayo didn’t really speak too much English so I was used to speaking my “progressive” spanish to them. All I can think is “Man both of my grandparents have lived in the US for YEARS and how have they adapted to the language barrier”. Then I think to myself well if they can survive ‘Merica then I can make it through China the best I can. Study Abroad is a WONDERFUL experience but like with anything, you have bad days. A little perspective. Faith in humanity restored.

Back to my Chinese homework,


What Students Really Need to Hear

Exactly what I needed to hear with the end of my Fall term.


It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

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Letter to myself

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There are a few things you need to know about yourself. You are flawed and gifted at the same time. As of now, everything in your life feels as if it’s just not going as “planned”. Life is not about a series of plans, it’s a series of changes and your reaction to them.

Our priorities need to be checked. We learn ourselves better each and everyday, it’s going to be okay as mama tells us. It really is. You know why? The world isn’t going to stop spinning because of you, although a guy may just stop where he was going to do a double take at ya 😉

Anyways, let’s change our mindset, shall we? I want your new mantra to be: How can I make MYSELF better? Now tell yourself that the moment you wake up or at least get to a mirror to process that it’s the morning. Stop spending those extra minutes in bed past your alarm and let your dreams become a REALITY. This means you have to start waking up on time. You are wasting time you could be doing the next step to achieve your dreams! Next, how badly do you want to reach your goals? Seriously, how badly? I want you to work your butt off EVERYDAY to the point that your dedication shows how much you want it ALL THE TIME. Now, you need to start loving yourself. I know you do, but ALOT more. Right now, you are not showing it. Let’s take morning rides down the lake, working out more seriously, writing down your thoughts, and asking yourself more questions about yourself. Who do you want to be a few years from now? What do you value? This will help you find your zone and get rid of all the negative vibes. You are not independently complete. That will take some time of deep thought.

For the next few months, focus on you, your goals, and your future adventures. Just give all your energy into yourself, helping others, and life itself. Trust me, you’ll be way happier that way.

Love and Peace,