Interview with Ashley Morse, 21 years old – Former mentee of icouldbe.org
We sat down with Ashley Morse, who participated in the icouldbe program during her high school career. She went to Highlands High School’s Business Academy in California, and now is about to graduate from Sacramento City College with a junior college degree in social work.
Ashley thanks icouldbe.org for giving her the motivation to think beyond high school and towards her future. She is now applying to schools such as SUNY Plattsburgh and UC Davis in anticipation of a four-year degree. She also plans on becoming a mentor for icouldbe soon.
We asked Ashley a few questions about her experience with icouldbe and her goals for the future.
ICB: How many years did you participate in icouldbe?
Ashley: Three years – tenth grade, eleventh grade, and senior year of high school.
ICB: What is your mentor-mentee relationship like (with Celie)?
Ashley: I haven’t seen Celie since my senior year, but we keep contact through email. She recently sent me a book called Love Leadership. It’s about a man who grew up during the LA riots and how he went from living in poverty to working for an antipoverty organization. We check in with each other every few months, it’s kind of like a nervous tick for me – if I don’t send her an email seeing how she’s doing, I feel on edge.
Throughout the icouldbe mentee-mentor program, our relationship started off as the typical relationship, but it started to change as I got older and life began to get a little bit more complicated. I turned to her because I didn’t feel embarrassed, and thought that she wouldn’t judge me the same way my teachers and peers would. My mindset was, “Oh well, I’m not going to see this person, so what do I have to be embarrassed about?” Obviously that changed – but meeting her only made our relationship stronger. The mentor doesn’t just become a screen name on the computer; she became a real person to me. Someone who has lived life has given me guidance on my life. Meeting her made me comfortable and I was able to confide in her with all types of situations throughout my life, whether it was just telling her about school or if it was a personal problem. For her to be there for me, even if it is just through email, really means a lot, especially given my past experiences with family. She gives me the consistency that I need, and I truly appreciate everything she does.
A mentor guides you through school, your life, your job, and your relationships… I’m getting 100% out of the program still… three years out of high school.
ICB: What part of the icouldbe curriculum did you find most helpful?
Ashley: The curriculum helped me think about the goals in my life; I never thought about the future beyond high school, and it encouraged me to think about where I would go and what I wanted to do. I also really appreciated the feedback I received from my mentor during my work in the units.
ICB: What would you like to do in the future?
Ashley: I am going to get my Master’s – no matter what. I want to work in social work, either with children or the elderly.
ICB: If you could give advice to students in the icouldbe program, what would it be?
Ashley: You only get out of the program what you put into it. It’s the same thing with life – if you give it your all then you’re going to see those results throughout your life. Life does not get any simpler after high school, it only gets complicated after graduation. If you can develop a relationship with your mentor the things in life that seem complicated will just be small events, because you’ll have someone to turn to.
As far as the program – students need to take advantage. It’s a great program to discover what you want to do in the future. The programs shouldn’t seem like work, if it does than you’re not using it to the best of your ability. If you think about the questions that are given, they can really tell you things about yourself; as well as the feedback from your mentors. They are taking the time out of their busy lives to give feedback to the mentees, so take the time to read what they are saying and comment back. I guarantee that responding back to your mentors will also make the program a lot more interesting.
Lastly enjoy the little things. Meaning enjoy the little things in the program and in life. If you enjoy the little things in life it will make life more enjoyable. We live too much in the here-and-now to worry about what our classmates think of us. If you have classmates that mock you for enjoying the program, ignore them. My classmates did the same thing to me and I ignored them and guess what life is still fine. I am who I am and you are who you are. Don’t let your peers or anyone get you down, because you are perfect just the way you are. Life is a journey so enjoy it we only live once so make the most of it.
ICB: Do you have a most memorable moment from your time spent in the icouldbe program?
Ashley: Definitely getting to meet my mentor Celie – she came to Sacramento, and I was able to shadow her for a day.