Thursday, July 14, 2011

Be a Master!

As I prepare for graduation from NAU, I have to think about, well, my life.
The big question seems to be: What am I going to do next?
I have been thinking a lot about this and have actually started to narrow things down. And this isn't necessarily about what I've decided but it is about one of the options and why it's so high in the running.

Getting a Master's Degree. 
Then I could say, "I am the Master"!

There are several reasons why this isn't set in stone. By several, I mean I can list 8 off the top of my head and give me a little while and I'm sure I could come up with 16 more reasons why this isn't an automatic win. (One reason is that I don't know if if it's master's degree, Master's degree, MA, M.A, etc. I can't get a degree in something I can't write properly!)

I was thinking about adults in my life who I really admire. Six of them have a master's degree (I think that's right for generic purposes...). Essentially by admire, the broadest sense of the word is that I want to be like them in some way and they have encouraged me or inspired me. I haven't told them and I'm not sure if I was supposed to get some kind of permission from them by talking about them I may be breaking some rule, which is actually kind of exciting...but also, I apologize for that. And I also just realized that I'm not 100% sure that they all have their Master's...but I still admire them nonetheless..but I'm pretty sure they do.

Meghan James 
If you don't know Meghan, you're missing out. She is the kind of person who is not only interested in almost everything, she knows almost anything about almost everything. It's really impressive, quite actually. Beyond that, she is potentially one of the most humble of persons you will ever meet. I want to "get my feet dirty" as the saying goes (or am I making that saying up?), because of her. She has shown me the value in learning things. Learn what I need to learn and learn what I want learn. The more you learn, the better you can connect to people.

Melinda Jensen 
Mrs. Jensen was my math teacher in high school and my homeroom teacher. I've had a lot of great teachers throughout my school years, so the fact that she's one that stands out is impressive. Now, I can't say she influenced me to go into fact I kind of hate math=)...but, I wanted to be a better student because of her. She was one of the teachers that genuinely cares about her students and it was obvious. The kind of teacher that makes her students want to strive for more. She was the teacher that even on the crappiest of days, she had a smile on her face and tried to make other people smile. It was her charisma and genuineness that would always radiate around her. And, even though math isn't my favorite subject anymore, I actually really liked it when I was in her class and she was also ridiculously good at teaching math.

Jill Langan 
Jill was my direct supervisor for my first two years as an RA. I (sort of) lived with her and worked with her. I saw her almost every single day and we got to know each other fairly well. I encountered a lot of situations where I had zero idea about what to do and Jill always knew how to guide me. Whether it was to direct me in the proper protocol or simply calm me down, I knew I could count on her. She wasn't afraid to say "I don't know", but she didn't stop there. She would say "I don't know, but let me find out". She is so compassionate and encourages people to go do what they want. I was so spoiled by having her as my boss, because she was probably one of the best ones anyone could ask for. I don't think I would have made it through even my first semester as an RA if it weren't for her support. She showed me that it was totally possible to be a student and a fantastic hall staff member at the same time. I learned how to handle various situations and different types of people by watching her.

Drew Satter
Drew was one of my supervisors for my first two years as an RA at NAU. He is one of those leaders that people just flock to. I don't know if I can think of any other male in my life who I was so impressed by and had the most respect for. I remember my second year as an RA, we had three new guys on our staff and I told them to watch Drew, because he was an exemplary role model and that they would learn so much by working under him. I admire Drew, plain and simple. He has a fantastic wife and it's so evident that he cherishes her. He works so dang hard at his job, which is why I think I had such a high respect for him almost immediately. He worked hard and expected us to work hard. He wouldn't just tell us to do something, he would show us and would lead by example. I actually didn't really start looking at grad programs until I was encouraged by Drew.

Stephanie Sheaffer 
Mrs. Sheaffer was my counselor in high school. She loves people. Encouraging them, loving on them, supporting them, advising them... My admiration for her is exponentially high. I felt so supported by her and truly felt like I could do almost anything with my life because of her confidence in me. I learned the importance of having confidence in people and being an encourager to others from her. She would go out of her way to find something for me or to help me. I try to go above and beyond people's expectations to help them, because that's what Mrs. Sheaffer did for me. Also, her writing skills are impeccable and I sincerely hope I can continue to strive to be at her writing level, because I've learned that the ability to write is necessary for life.

Julie Spier
Julie has become one of my best friends, whether she knows that or not=P The older I get, the more like her I get. Throughout our many conversations, we discover how similar we really's almost odd how alike we are. More than once, I've been called "Julie's mini me". Her passion for students is truly remarkable, as she yearns to share with them this wholly, remarkable, tender love that is found through Jesus. She's the one who encouraged me to figure out what I'm holy discontent about and do something about it. I never wanted to disappoint her, but more than that I wanted her to be proud of me. I trust, respect, and admire Julie. She guides me and pushes me. She wouldn't let me just sit on my butt and do nothing, and while I probably wouldn't let myself do that, I am grateful to know that I have someone who will make sure I am always moving and doing something to further the Kingdom.

I have the utmost respect and admiration for all six of these people. I have learned from them and strive to do more because of them. They are all brilliant, captivating, and astonishing individuals who genuinely love and care about others. I just want to be cool like them!

For the record, I'm not trying to say that I respect them because of the degrees that they have. 


  1. Thank you so much for these kind words, Ashley! Your tribute almost made me cry. I am honored to be listed among these other 5 leaders.

    I am so incredibly happy and proud to know you. Your love for Christ is obvious and I know you are going to do outstanding things with your life.

    What do you think you will get your Masters degree in? I have my B.A. in English and M.A. in Educational Counseling. (I'd also like to go on to pursue a PhD or NMD...we'll see). ;)

  2. It's been nearly a month and I STILL don't have the right words to express how flattered and touched I am to be part of this post.

    I also don't know how to explain how much I needed the boost it gave me at the time, and still gives me. Going back to the classroom was/is a very scary thing and you helped me face it.

    I admire you so much and feel incredibly blessed to know you! I am not worried about what you'll do next, mostly because you are already so successful. You know who you are and you LIVE it. The other stuff, career, degrees... those things are just vehicles to continue the work you are already doing.

    Love you Lovely Girl!


  3. Smashley,

    This is so wonderful. You mean the world to me dear. I was tearing up reading this. You never cease to amaze me,Ashley Lynn Coulter!

    I heart you!