UT student Paulina Perez uses “Day in the Life” TikTok trend to connect with Hispanic community, offer advice

Jessica Garcia, Life & Arts Reporter

What may seem like normal everyday activities to some — making the bed, reading a book, studying at a desk and drinking an iced coffee — led Paulina Perez to TikTok fame. When the public relations senior makes her bed, reads her favorite fantasy novel and drinks her favorite coffee blend, Perez said she relishes in sharing life’s simple moments with the world.

Perez began posting “Day in the Life” videos on TikTok in Spanish last September and has since received over 500,000 likes on her videos.

“I’ve never seen anyone from UT post videos like that,” Perez said. “The (‘For You’ page) did a really great job in targeting the Hispanic community (at) UT, and (the videos) got 50,000 views.”

Users participate in the “Day in the Life” trend by filming and posting small parts of their day on platforms such as TikTok. For Perez, these videos include UT-specific activities students can relate to, such as looking out her West Campus apartment window and lying on the South Mall lawn. By sharing her experiences online, Perez said she hopes to represent Hispanic students and guide all students transitioning to their first year of college.  

After initially gaining popularity on TikTok, Perez said she continued to post “Day in the Life” videos to help both others and herself, acknowledging that if others saw her commitment to self care and school work, they could be inspired to do the same. 

“I was motivating other people by recording myself getting out of bed and going to school,” Perez said. “I love that, (and) I’m going to continue doing it.” 

Since growing on the platform, Perez said she now uses her TikToks to connect with other Hispanic students, offering current and potential UT students advice. By making videos in English and Spanish, Perez said she aspires to inclusively share her experiences as a Mexican-American college student.

Though many of her videos showcase UT’s campus, Perez said her fanbase spreads much farther than the UT student body. Andrea Fernandez, advertising freshman at Austin Community College, said discovering Perez on TikTok encouraged her to pursue her goal of transferring to UT in the future. By seeing Hispanic representation at UT, Fernandez said she feels less alone in a country away from her family and friends in Mexico.

“It’s really inspiring to feel like you’re not alone,” Fernandez said. “There’s people just like you, and they made it. It makes me feel like I can do it too.”

Omneya Ibrahim, graduate teaching assistant and doctoral student, said she does extensive research on social media and visual communication. She said students use social media for various reasons, such as expressing themselves or getting to know people with similar interests.    

“Most users find they use social media as (an) empowering tool and think of online spaces as a place where they can share their identities,” Ibrahim said.

While Perez said she began using TikTok to express herself, shifting her content and utilizing the space to explore her identity gave the platform new meaning. Alongside her “Day in the Life” videos, Perez posts a variety of content, from sharing how to meet Hispanic people on campus to offering advice about the Coordinated Admission Program at UT.    

“I already went through all of that,” Perez said. “I can help someone who is barely coming in and motivate them through the change that’s why I keep posting.”