University of Mississippi theater major Gabby Quintana, 19, is heavily involved in campus life and activities. In her second semester, Quintana spends most days performing.
Originally from Marietta, Georgia, she transitioned from high school to university with greater ease than expected. “It was quite the experience,” she said. “I thought it was going to be really crazy, but it was a very comfortable transition … I felt myself really slipping into the shoes here.”
Quintana said she had a few concerns about moving to Mississippi. “Not to stereotype, but sometimes you do hear things about Mississippi being more conservative,” she said. “But coming here has just been a really good experience because, like, you know, it’s more 50-50 when it comes to political ideas than I thought.”
She said it was interesting becoming friends with people with different political views. “Because you’re able to respect that side and see that side more, and it’s a symbiotic relationship,” she said. “It’s just a healthy exchange.”
With three older brothers who attend UM, Quintana said she’s adapted well to college life. Many of her friends share a love for the theater department. Quintana was part of last fall’s “Chicago” ensemble. She sang and danced while playing a range of characters, from a newspaper reporter to a fan girl.
“I absolutely love it,” she said. “I think it’s such a hidden gem.” She said she was blown away by the production and talent level of her peers in the first show she saw at UM. While most of her classes are prerequisites, she has been taking many theater courses.
“It’s so underrated,” she said, “and then, like, you go into the classes, and I was shocked,” she said, describing her experience with instructors. She said her mentors have been nothing but amazing.
This semester, Quintana is excited to be part of the university’s production of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”She has also joined a dance company.
Close friend Elizabeth Burrow convinced Quintana to audition. “I’m so glad she did,” Burrow said. “She’s just so involved in everything she does and just always loves doing it.”
Quintana has always loved dance. Coming from a performing arts high school where she was a dance major, she she said it’s been fun working with choreographers and meeting other dancers.
She is also a member of the sorority Alpha Omicron Pi. “I think that there is literally so many things to do,” she said. “I wish I had more time in my day to do it all.”
She said there are many clubs and organizations you don’t hear about. “If I could be like a little amoeba and separate myself and do everything, I totally would do it.”