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Meet the Writer: Fabulous, Unapologetic and Absolutely Stunning, Fi Arvelo

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPRM chapter.

The beginning of February is an unlikely one at El Colegio. Its forceful winds accompany every hurried colegial on their way to class and its tyrannical sunlight watches over everyone. Gratefully taking refuge below the Centro of Estudiantes’ roof and amid the laughing, chattering, and richly diverse college students, sat Fianeli Arvelo, an eighteen year old effortlessly basking in the warm, honeyed color the afternoon desperately offered. In contrast with the hectic atmosphere visible at the university, Fianeli, better known as simply Fi by her colleagues in Her Campus, is a refreshing, nonchalant, and bold walking statement that beckons glances. Dressed in a casual navy-blue dress that complemented her bold makeup and perfectly drawn eyebrows, Fi’s observant and perfectly winged ‘eyelined’ eyes glanced around as she awaited smiles to reciprocate them. At first glance, one might think Fi is wryly indifferent, but oh, how are first glances deceiving.

As a lover of the art of writing, Fi was compelled to join HerCampus’ team five months ago as a writer and photographer. With a mature tone that exceeded her years, she coolly explained that becoming a member was a way “to incorporate [herself] into the university” and the new lifestyle it demands, “because when one arrives [to a new town], you don’t know anyone. I’m from Bayamón so where do I begin or go to meet people, and grow as a Colegial?”

Being an industrial engineering freshman, Fi expressed the reality of studying in a male-dominated field of study. Fi considers that studying industrial engineering is hard “because one constantly sees how the professors and your classmates constantly underestimate you. For example, I took an engineering graphic course, and in the first few weeks, I was the only girl in a classroom of forty students. People were looking at [me] like: ‘What the hell is she doing here?’ I would even ask the professor questions, but they treat you as if you were bruta.” Although, Fi seems to be a young woman who’s not overwhelmed easily, she expressed her disappointment with her peers: “You shouldn’t [determine]: ‘Oh, that’s a man’s job; that’s a woman’s job’. I feel I can do the same work, quality, and at the same pace as a man.”

Yet, despite Fi’s struggle in her department and the constant chauvinistic microaggressions she has to deal with, she brushed it off proudly. “But en verdad, I feel I kicked ass. I finished the semester with A’s and I ended up getting along with the professor.” On the contrary, the unfortunate atmosphere offered in her building is a motivation to keep her going and fulfill her dreams. “Doing schoolwork on due time and visiting the professor’s office hours, proves them that you’re interested in growing, acquiring knowledge, and looking for a way to fit in.” She shared what was her modus operandi to deal with it. “I like to dress well and wear makeup. [But] I tone down how sympathetic I can be. How outgoing I can be. One has to enter [in the department] with a straight face.” In order to be taken seriously, “You have to be serious to the extent of being called a b!tch, because in the long run, those same guys are the ones who come up to you and ask questions or ask for advice. I dunno. It’s just me [how I think]. I would never let my self-esteem be por el piso because of what people say. That’s not my way to roll.”

Fi was like an open letter one gently reads to be able to discover the precious contents within. Word by word, she unraveled her aspirations, her sensibility toward people as an artist and as an existing being. “I go big with my dreams,” Fi commented; the spark in her eyes were proof of the passions hidden inside her chest, “I’d love to open up my own business. I’d love to do my BS’s in industrial engineering; specialize in management, and I feel like with [these academic accomplishments] I could start my own business. A restaurant or something of the sort. I’m not classy. I would like [to own] a bar and restaurant.”  Her reasons to open up her own business revolves around her varied preferences and pastimes. “I love food. I love music—bands. I like to socialize and meet new people. I’m not much of a talker; that’s why I get awkward sometimes, but I love listening. So, why not open up a place where I can incorporate all three things?”

Fi’s bold, sensible, a good listener, and an artist. Doesn’t matter what one might think of her or what life throws at her way, Fi’s constantly knowing herself. Fi will always be unapologetic.

Whenever she doesn't have her nose in a book, she's watching old films in languages she dreams to learn. Described as "nice, sincere, selfless, and down to earth", by her best friends, but of course, that's a biased, unreliable opinion. 
Her Campus at UPRM