Getting rid of her smartphone was one of the smartest decisions she ever made, Gabrielle Davis said. If anyone doubts her on that, Davis, 28, of Dracut, needs only point to her 3.98 grade point average in two years as a full-time Middlesex Community College student, achieved while raising three young children as a single mom and working two part-time jobs.
On May 2 at the Statehouse, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education celebrated Davis' academic accomplishments at MCC by recognizing her as one of their "29 Who Shine," an annual program that names outstanding students from each of the state's 15 community colleges, nine state universities and five University of Massachusetts campuses -- 29 public campuses.
Q: You actually went from using a smartphone back to a regular cellphone?
A: I did have one for a while, and I used Planner on it for a while, but I do not have a smartphone. I don't like them. To me, smartphones are more distracting than useful. I prefer writing things down in my daily planner. I now have a basic, old-fashioned cellphone I got from Walmart.
Q: Three kids, two jobs, a 3.98 GPA, and an award from the Massachusetts Department of Education. How do you do it?
A: It's excellent time-management skills. It's going to sleep by 9:30 every night and getting up at 5 in the morning. I create an agenda every day to go by and I prioritize.
Q: What's your best study tip to becoming an A student?
A: I always write my class notes by hand, then type those notes into the computer later at home, and that's how I study. When it comes down to test time, I'll rewrite my notes by hand and retype them on my computer and remember it better that way, because I'm reiterating it.
Q: Favorite course?
A: Definitely creative writing, and reading and writing poetry have been my favorite courses at MCC. I love writing poetry; I've written lots of them.
Q: Could you recite a piece of your poetry?
A: This one's (titled) "A Childhood Memory": I knew fall was finally here when mom and dad bought pumpkin pie. The air is so full of color because leaves fall through the
sky. Bittersweet, musty scent from the bright confetti piles, My sister and I jumped into, laughing, full of smiles. The foliage lit up like candles, flickering in my sight. Blue sky beyond these branches warning of fading summer light ...
Q: Least favorite course?
A: Pre-calculus is the most challenging. Even though I will say math isn't my thing, at the same time I do have fun doing it. I really enjoy the challenge of learning some thing new.
Q: What's the next step in your academic career?
A: After I graduate from Middlesex next month, I plan to transfer to UMass Lowell and pursue my bachelor's degree in peace and conflict studies.
Q: What would be your ideal career?
A: Leadership coaching in the schools for students in kindergarten through grade 12. We need to supplement our basic education curriculum to start training up tomorrow's leaders to make them stronger and more confident in their communication and leadership skills and techniques.
Q: Just how busy are you?
A: I'm also a student member of MCC's board of trustees, active in the Women's Leadership Network, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, MCC's Commonwealth Honors Program, and Student Union Government Association.
Q: Are you living proof that I should get rid of my smartphone?
A: It worked for me.