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Ashley Graham

Stress, Graduation, Options


Photo from Brazzers.com Twitter: @Mriveraphoto

It's hard to think that 6 or so years ago I graduated high school and went straight into college. I can remember the two college professors that took a chance on me and really got me interested in English and people. The first was a German man, I can not quite recall his name now, but he was amazing. He made me read "Brave New World' for the fifth time and Jihad vs. McWorld. It wasn't without me whining and griping that I had no interest in either of these topics. I didn't care about how democracy was changing and how the world was changing and causing so many changes to so many things. I also didn't care to read "Brave New World" one more time. I was over it, I knew the story, it was ok, but all I could think was not again, please not again. This man changed the way I viewed the world. He breathed new life into "Brave New World" for me and taught me to pay more attention to what was happening in the world around me. I wrote countless papers, he graded them tougher than most other students, he called me in after and before class, and he took a chance on me. What he saw in me that year, I didn't yet see in myself and sometimes I still miss. He knew that behind the walls and the lethargic attitude and dislike toward authority was a girl who hungered for knowledge, routine, and change. It's because of that course that I have tattooed on my right wrist, "I Choose the right to be unhappy." It's a quote from "Brave New World", if you don't understand the positive light of the quote, I urge you to go pick up that book and read it now.

The next teacher was Rafiki, yes that was his name, and yes he was a young, cool, black man with dreadlocks who I teased incesscantly about how he should be a stoner. This man put together with the German caused me to change my major from Psychology to English. Rafiki spent an entire semester teaching us solely with the use of vampire books. If you don't know, I'm a huge vampire nerd, I love Buffy, True Blood, Anne Rice, Twilight, and anything vampiric and gothic. I loved it before I took his class, he taught me to read between the lines. I wrote my final thesis on his class on Buffy and their venture into showing us the underbelly of high school issues in the current world. He had us read Anne Rice, Bram Stoker, and then current vampire books that do not currently come to mind, but are in my library upstairs and I should probably re-read. Rafiki saw in me the same thing the German saw, a person who was just floating by on her laurels because that was good enough, but refused to challenge herself. I remember being 17 and calling my dad hysterically crying when I got my mid-term back, Rafiki gave me a C+ on it. I had spent three days non-stop researching and writing for this paper, I was livid, I was upset, I felt defeated. That's what Rafiki wanted, my dad was livid saying I was being wrongly picked upon. I was and wasn't, these two men were pushing me, pushing me to actually apply myself to something and reach my full potential. The next day Rafiki gave me a ride home because I took the local bus to school every day. I told him how frustrated I was and that I was trying so hard to understand and apply myself, but it was never good enough. He replied your work is in the 90th percentile, the problem is you just float by, one day you apply yourself, the next day party girl takes over. I'm trying to push you to be the best, if that means tearing you down to build you up, so be it. It made sense. I was the honors student who never showed up to class in high school but still graduated a year early and in the top 5% of my class. I passed that class with a B, it would have been an A for anyone else. I passed the German's class with the same grade. They ruined my GPA.

What I didn't realize until I was leaving community college and applying to a university and asked them for recommendations was that I learned more than the curriculum from them. Both teachers wrote basically the same thing on their recommendations, "Ashley is a wonderful, knowledgable, curious student, but she needs to be pushed. You have to challenge her and engage her or she loses her drive. She has survived most of her life on her good looks and her natural smarts, school comes easy to her. This causes her to easily lose focus and rest on her laurels. If she would apply herself to her full potential in life, she would be a force to reckon with. I highly recommend you accept her, but please be sure to push her, even shove her to apply herself fully to something because the day she does that, the world will be her oyster."

These words haunt me constantly. I hear them all the time on set, from friends, from family, from teachers and from myself. I have three classes left until I am a college grad with a BA in English Lit. In one month, I will be 24. These are two major turning points for me. At age 25, my brain will have fully developed and right now I have the option to quit school or continue on and do more. Today, sitting in my car those recommendations for school came back to me. What if I actually fully applied myself to myself, quit messing around, quit drinking so much, quit being so selfish and lazy for myself? How much different would my world be? What do I want to be? So, what did I do? I opened up google and I started googling. What are the pros and cons to going to law school, what about going to get my Masters and then PhD in Psych? Googling led me to realize I really don't want to be a lawyer anymore. There's a high unemployment rate everywhere for lawyers and I really want to be in a court room, not doing paper work. To be in a court room I would need to work for the state or help criminals. Fuck that! Doesn't sound very fulfilling or fiscally responsible. Besides, every lawyer I know quit after 4 years and left for something else. Ok, let's look at Psych. It's 8 more years of school, but all of my Psych classes I got straight As in. Hmmm. Looks like I finally found a class that actually made me want to be involved and not rest on my laurels. I love psychology, I read about it in my free time, I research it on my own, I have an entire shelf of psychology books. And then it hit me why is this even a question or debate? I called my dad and said would you hate me if I was a studet for another 6-8 years, his reply was absolutely not, nothing would make me prouder than to see you get a PhD in Psychology, but I didn't think you'd do it so I pushed law school. And that was it. That was the adult choice, the new chapter I opened. I'll be calling my academic counselor next week to tell her to sign me up for a masters program in Psychology. Will it be tough? Absolutely. Is it a big change from English? Yes, it's all science and math and statistics classes. Will it make me happy? Yes. That's what I wanted. That was the point of getting a BA degree, to find that one speciality that pushed me to my full potential. It absolutely will mean less play time for me and more studying and working, but I can't wait. I opened up a new chapter in life by shooting BG and I couldn't be happier with that choice, I'm sure that this new chapter in school will make me just as happy and content. 



I will also be back to shooting in LA June 6-16 and you can book me through http://OCModeling.com twitter @OCMOdeling

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