Saturday, January 29, 2011


I volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters so I eat lunch every Tuesday with my "little sister" at Forest Hills Elementary. Today, when I went to visit her, I watched the children in the cafeteria, especially the kindergartners. They all were smiling and laughing without a care in the world. It made me think about the position I am in my life today. I have overloaded myself with classes; I am about to graduate from college; I am trying to get a job, and I attempting to keep my sanity. Where have those 14 years gone? While I do miss the simplicity of those really young years, but I'm not sure I would trade it. I am more stressed now, but there are a lot more things in my life now that give me happiness. I have found myself, I have almost found a place in this world, and I have some great memories since my kindergarten year. The expression "the good ol' days" is overused, and while those may have been the good ol' days, I'm hoping that my "best ol' days" are still to come. :)

Princess Ashley

In high school, I wasn't popular at all. I was the shy, smart, quiet girl that people liked, but didn't invite to parties. I was never popular enough to be voted as Homecoming Princess back then. Therefore, this year at Averett, I wanted to try to live out what I couldn't before.
Since here you don't have to be nominated, it helped my chances. I filled out the paperwork, turned it in, and waited to see how the voting went.
There was a slight mix-up at first because I thought since I am a senior that I would be running for Homecoming Queen, but I didn't have enough credits so I had to run for Homecoming Princess. I was a little bummed, but I got over it. There were more girls running for princess so the odds were not looking good. I wanted to win so bad because in my mind, I wanted to make up for the missed chance in high school.
Well, the big day came. I had to work in the press box that day so I had access to the list of winners. Someone told me not to peek, but the suspense was killing me. I picked the sheet up and beside homecoming princess said my name. I started jumping up and down and teared up once again. I couldn't believe that my moment had finally came!
Once we went down on the football field, I already knew, which took some of the shock out of the announcement, but the moment was still amazing. I really didn't think I was going to win, but I still held on to that hope that anything is possible, and my DREAM CAME TRUE.

Not just academic dreams

I have loved to sing since I was little, but only recently have I gained the courage to sing in front of other people. That courage came in handy last May when I entered a singing contest in Rocky Mount. It was a contest called "Dashboard Idol," and the winner would receive $2,127.
I had been stressing out about how I was going to pay for my meal plan this year because I didn't have a job and my parents were going to make me pay for it. One night, I was watching television and saw the ad for this contest. I looked at my mom and I said, "I have to do this."
I first had to register and my name had to be drawn out of the box to even get to come. Well, my name was drawn and they told me to be there. I was so stoked!
That morning I went to Rocky Mount and I found out that there was a list of songs that they would be choosing from. I looked at the list and I knew the lyrics to about half of them so I was really nervous as to when they would draw my name and what song I would end up getting. Another thing I found out was that there were only 10 people in the contest, it was supposed to be 45. That added pressure because the odds were in my favor.
Every contestant's name was drawn to choose the order. Each contestant went behind the wheel of a car and had to sing the song that came on with enthusiasm, knowledge of the lyrics, and a good singing voice. Most of the contestants were forgetting the lyrics, so I became even more nervous not to forget my lyrics.
I was the next to the last name to be drawn and I walked up, got in the car, and the song "Redneck Woman" by Gretchen Wilson came on. I was like "uh oh, I haven't sung this song in years!" However, once it started, all the words came back to me. I didn't forget a single lyric!
After all the contestants had their turn, the judges went to deliberate. They came back and said, "Our winner had a perfect score, and now she has money for college.... the winner is Ashley Jackson." When I walked up to receive my trophy, I teared up once again thinking how ANOTHER dream came true. I didn't listen to everybody when they said that my chances of winning were slim to none, I knew that I could do it. It was up to me, not anyone else.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guest Blogger- Sierra Young

     As i look back on my life i realize that more and more my dreams have been pushed to the side. I had dreams of becoming a lawyer, a baker and even a theater teacher all of them fell by the wayside. It wasn't until 10th grade English when my favorite teacher introduced me to poetry and i discovered a world of writing that would allow me to express my feelings through words. That was it, i had finally found a dream that was my own that i honestly felt passionate enough about to follow. Ever since then things have been clear, I have been writing and pushing and letting no obstacle stand in my way of becoming a writer. No dream in the world right now is as important as this dream, so i encourage thought and observation to find that dream that makes you, you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Scholarships, what a blessing

In 11th grade, things got real, it was time to start organizing plans for college. For the longest time, I wanted to be a meteorologist and was going to go to NC State, but in 11th grade, something told me that I should pursue journalism. I immediately looked at Averett's catalog online, saw they had a journalism program and the decision was over. I didn't want to move away from home so my decision to go to Averett was final.
The process began my senior year to start applying to Averett and applying for scholarships. The application for Averett took like 10 minutes, but the scholarship process was a headache. My mom and I went to several seminars coaching us on how to fill out FAFSA and other scholarship techniques. It was overwhelming, but I told my parents then, I said, "Since I make good grades, I know I can get scholarships. I don't want you two to have to pay hardly anything on my education, leave it to me." I took that mindset and ran with it.
I applied for scholarship after scholarship, some I received, some I didn't. However, after all the decisions were made and I had received some of them, I ended up with a $3,000 credit after my freshman year at Averett. I couldn't believe that all that hard work had paid off. I looked at my parents and said "I told you, I got this, don't you worry about a thing."
This year during first semester, my credit paid for the balance after the presidential scholarship. Second semester, the credit was gone, but all that was owed was about $4,000. My mom wrote the check and said "I am so proud of you. I never imagined we would get you through college and only have paid this much. You got out there and worked hard for what you received." I said, "I know, I can't believe it either."

From the beginning, I wanted to be somebody

I developed a competitive nature from an early age and the older I got, the worse it became. In high school, I began dreaming of college and scholarships. I told myself in 9th grade that I wanted to graduate in the top of my class. My high school didn't have valavictorian or salutatorian, it was broken down into percentiles. I didn't care about being valavictorian, I just wanted to be in the top.
This mindset stressed me out a lot in high school because I was always comparing my grades with the other smart students in order to scope out the "competition." My main focus was getting the A, I wasn't into going to parties or having a steady boyfriend. I look back now and wish I would have loosened up a little, but then again, I also look at how much I've accomplished and know that it's because I didn't slack off.
The day came in May 2009 that made all the stress worth it. I received a letter from WDBJ7 inviting me to a Best of the Class Honors luncheon in Roanoke. That meant that I was in the top two of my class. My dream had come true. I grew up watching the commercials showing the top students every summer and always wished that could be me someday. I almost cried when I read the letter and I was so excited to tell my parents the good news.
All the tears I cried in the Biology book studying for a hard test and wanting to give up at times, did not matter anymore. I had accomplished what I set out to do.

Mission Statement

The purpose of this blog is to inspire people to chase their dreams. I have had personal experience that if you dream something and work hard, it will happen. I will be sharing those experiences on this blog. The key is to always believe in yourself. :)