Jackpot! Karine Valle Martinez taps into her inner strength

Jackpot is a series in which we profile a variety of students and their interesting lives. Every story highlights a different student, whom we’ve selected at random.

After classes each day, many Trinity students head back to their dorms to relax, grab food, study or catch up with friends. Not Karine Valle Martinez. After her last class gets out at 2:30, she heads off to work from 3-9 p.m. at Guillermo’s, a local restaurant.

“Meeting new people is really a big part of me. I think that’s why I love serving because people have a story to tell, and I want to be able to connect with people. Like with regulars at work it is really interesting because they tell me about their day and then you have this long conversation,” Martinez said.

If working 30 hours a week wasn’t exhausting enough, Martinez also has to come back each night to the full workload of an intended international business and marketing double-major. Her choice of majors was inspired by her dad, who had a clothing business while she was growing up.

“He had it in Mexico so people [could] have affordable, good clothing. I’d help him run it. He’d give stuff away during Christmas,” Martinez said.

When Martinez was a freshman in high school, her dad passed away, inspiring her even further to pursue business.

“That was probably the biggest turning point in my life and that’s why I always pick business and try to live his memory,” Martinez said.

Losing her father was completely devastating, but Martinez managed to keep going. She cites the help of her older sister, who currently attends the University of Texas at San Antonio, and the help of her friends and school mentors as the main reasons she got through that time.

“It’s really complicated having to mature. That’s why I look up to my sister because she was the one that got her driver’s license first, left the house first without even a person helping her. My friends, they would come in my room and talk for hours, nonsense about different things that didn’t pertain to that, and I feel like that got me out of the bad headspace. Good mentors at my school, they would help me get scholarships, apply to schools when I didn’t have the mental capacity to do that. So they’re like, ‘You’re going to have it, you’re going to become happy again,’” Martinez said.

Martinez was overjoyed when she received her Trinity acceptance, describing it as the proudest moment of her life. Having just been through the college admissions process then, it is no wonder that this is something she is particularly passionate about.

“I’m passionate about how to get into a private school without having any resources available. I feel like there’s thousands of resources, and I feel like people, especially low-income students, don’t have those resources, and I feel like motivating students, ‘you’re going to get through this and you’re going to be able to lead a good life,’” Martinez said.

Martinez is also passionate about crochet. She loves to make new clothing items or things for her classes, and particularly loves showing off her creations to her friends. If she could give just one word of advice to her past self, it would be this.

“Don’t give up. You’re going to get through this. You’re going to succeed in life. You’re going to meet new people. You’re going to be happy,” Martinez said.