Latinxperience: Meet Yaisy Rodriguez
What is your role at Carolina?
I am currently a Spanish instructor at Carolina. I have taught several classes at different levels, including intermediate and advanced grammar, culture, film, literature. This fall semester I taught a course on medical terminology in Spanish. I am also a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Hispanic studies.
But beyond having a role as an instructor at the university, I am here not only to teach a new language, but to show that a language also represents a culture and a way of life because a language gives you the possibility of connecting with other ways of seeing the world.
What does “pa’lante” mean to you?
“Pa’lante” precisely means moving forward, continuing the path, and adapting to our times despite the circumstances in the light of COVID-19. Obviously, the outbreak has dramatically changed peoples’ lives and relationships over the past two years. A devastating pandemic that has claimed many lives and has turned our concept of normality upside down. However, embracing the chaos might be beneficial to move forward in life. “Pa’lante” means to me moving forward but with greater wisdom and knowledge that allow us to face situations of confusion and uncertainty. We don’t know what real strength lies within unless we are put in a situation that forces us to bring it out.
How has being at Carolina impacted you?
I take my role as an instructor very seriously, but also as a guide or even a counselor if my students ask me for help. Sometimes as instructors we underestimate the impact we also have on our students, for better or worse.
Academic life demands a lot of sacrifice and society pushes us every day with its standards of progress and success, but at Carolina I have learned that everything and each individual has its process; it is very cruel to measure or compare ourselves to others. It might even make you feel like you are not enough.
I love learning from my students, there is an underworld in each of my students and I appreciate and respect that.
What is your hidden talent?
Good question. I am a poet since my mother brought me into the world. There is nothing that touches me and sensitizes me more than poetry, maybe I hide my tears when a good poem kidnaps me. I always cry when a poem metaphorically undresses me, it’s like a reminder that I’m human, and I can feel.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
If I had given any advice to my young Yaisy, she would not have listened to me because of her free spirit and inquisitive nature. If I had told her to be less passionate, risky, and dreamy, she would not have listened to me either. And it is a blessing, instead she would not have plucked up her courage or grabbed a suitcase full of dreams and would not have left Venezuela to come to the United States. Otherwise, the adult Yaisy would not be giving this interview or be a spokesperson for Latin-American professionals in this country, talking about her experience in a top public university in the U.S.
Perhaps my advice would have been to start publishing her poems and short stories earlier, but it is never too late.
If you want to nominate a student, staff, faculty, or community member, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.