Dear Albright College

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on June 28, 2015
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Dear Albright College,

Yes, I know it has been quite some time since I’ve strolled through your campus. Still, you’ve been on my mind quite a bit lately. That tends to happen when you’re seeking employment. Am I unemployed? No. Am I underemployed? Perhaps, but that’s neither here nor there. What I want to talk about is us.

As with any past relationship, I cannot discredit the benefit of hindsight. My thoughts of you from when I attended at the tender age of 17 until now are vastly different. To be honest, I feel different about you now than I did even a year ago. Has being 30 given me a new perspective? It has on a few things, actually. You indoctrinated me with the concept of possessing a different way of thinking. That is the path that you set me on, and I have yet to diverge.

Having changed my degree focus an ungodly amount of times, I quickly realized there was no way I could afford to stay in our relationship beyond the time we’d mutually agreed upon. It would have been unhealthy, unwise, and under no circumstances economically possible. To the surprise of many, even myself, I cranked out enough credits for an English degree and nearly a minor in Women’s Studies (pure happenstance).

I thought that you would like to know that I’ve been okay since our breakup. I’ve heard about you, and I know that you’ve been flourishing. You’re not the only one who has grown. You see, I did learn a great deal from you. I received my M.A. and believed that I was headed on to a Ph.D. Imagine, I would one day be a colleague of the fine professors who helped me grow as an academic and a person. This was thrilling to me until I reached the final months of my 2-year Master’s program and realized I couldn’t care less. That different way of thinking came back to bite me in the butt. I suddenly had no desire to turn into my peers-rapidly approaching 30 having no life experience outside of cranking out papers and grades. I at least wanted to have one real non-academic job under my belt.

You gave me the courage to walk away despite hearing that “We need more Black academics.” We also need more people who don’t hate what they’re doing everyday.

What did I do? I really thought out of the box. I started working at a daycare. I wasn’t even sure if I liked kids! There I met some of the nicest people. They were adults who had lived outside of academia. They were real life. They were what I was missing. I miss them, though I am still in contact with a couple of them. Did I apply to Ph.D. programs? Yes–in another field. Did I get in? Yes. Did I go? No. Another lesson that I learned from you was a financial one: Don’t do things you can’t afford.

As much as I love you for training me to be a critical thinker, oh how I wish someone had helped me to think critically when I took out $30,000 in loans from Sallie Mae. When I sat in the Student Accounts Office, desperate not to abandon my academic journey, why didn’t someone say that I was making a huge mistake? Why didn’t someone tell me that just because I could take out those loans without a co-signer didn’t mean that I should? Why didn’t someone level with me once I did stay with a major in the humanities and tell me that I could get an English degree anywhere? Instead of the shock that I had been approved, why not tell me to immediately give those funds back and make a smarter decision that would benefit me later in life. It would’ve hurt to hear, but it wouldn’t have hurt nearly as bad as my current monthly payments to Sallie Mae–I’m sorry, Navient.

The irony is that if I don’t somehow make it big as a writer, I’ll go to my grave with these debts. Do I blame you? No. While you did have a part in it, as we were in this together, I was the one who signed on the dotted line. I was young and in love with the idea of all that you could offer.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to think my way into a better economic situation. It’s funny. That’s actually the mindset of most people nowadays. Many of us yearn for economic stability. Time will tell how many of us actually achieve it. That’s why I’m counting on you, Albright education, to help me to stand out from the pack. That is what you do owe me.

Love Always,



Ways to Disappoint your Parents #1

Posted in Family,Life by Ashley Franklin on October 10, 2011
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As children, many of us yearn for our parents’ attention and approval. As adults, many of us keep with this mentality. Then comes the day when you realize that in one or more area, you’ve probably failed miserably. Nevertheless, you should take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Over the years, I’m sure that there have been many ways I have disappointed my parents. For now, I’ll just give you one.

Ways to Disappoint your Parents: #1- Not making money after college


They throw you a huge graduation party, brag to all their friends about scholarship offers, dutifully boast about your grades each semester, and now what? You’re sitting at home on their couch. Way to go, you! 

So, what went wrong? You picked a major you loved (likely where you went wrong if you chose something from the liberal arts), went to class (whenever you weren’t hung over and had actually done your homework), and participated in campus activities (that happened on nights when you had nothing better to do).  Is it possible that you did the college experience wrong?

If your parents sent you money during college, co-signed for student loans, or helped you to perpetuate the look of a self-sufficient adult, they’re probably disappointed if they haven’t seen a return on their investment.  After all, how well can their conversations go now? There’s nothing to brag about if you have a low-paying job, are employed in a job that has NOTHING to do with your degree, or are creating an unforgivable indentation in their furniture. At least they got their money’s worth from the furniture. You-not so much. 

Until you once again prove to be worthy of tabletop discussion, you might want to look into getting those shingle-looking gadgets that are supposed to give new life to droopy furniture. But, then again, that would require money.

Good luck with that.

New gigs, being naptastic & time management woes

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on October 27, 2010
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I recently got a gig as a teaching assistant for an online university. I start next month. A couple of weeks ago I signed up for NaNoWriMo. It starts next month. What does this mean? It means that within the next couple of days, I need to come up with schedule. My time management skills are horrific. I know the principles and how they should be executed. Making it happen in real life, however, I haven’t quite gotten (got?- it’s a little early for me, forgive me) that part down. 

There’s a perfect example. I can wake up early. I can stay up super late. My comprehension at these times is pretty sub par though. What’s the point in being up at these time then, huh? I haven’t quite figured out if it’s better to be up super late or early getting a small amount of things done. It usually doesn’t seem worth it, especially if I’m up for a super long time and get like  2 out of 20 things done. I might as well stay asleep until I’m fully functional.

Enter the power of the almighty nap. I was a professional napper in college. Any time. Any place. I could nap with the best of them. Naps even came in handy during grad school. Teaching at 8am and having classes spread throughout the day made a power nap a necessary coping mechanism. Unfortunately, my sleeping pattern is now severely dysfunctional. Since I freelance from home, it’s not too detrimental. If I had a 9 to 5, it would definitely be problematic.

It seems like a big part of my time management woes would be solved if I had a designated sleep and nap time. It’s those sneaky naps that creep up on me while my eyes are scrolling down a page that screw me over. Those are the naps that when I wake up, I realized I never recovered from my last blink or that my eyes never came back up to the top of the next page. Hmmm…I must figure this out in the very near future. Have any time management tips or tricks you could share?

Hold Up! Am I about to be in my late twenties?!

Posted in Life,Life changes by Ashley Franklin on October 25, 2010
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I created this blog around this time last year. I was in an awkward state of mind. I was restless, discontent, and unsure of myself. I’ll be honest; I was a mess! My friends sympathized. I don’t know what my family thought. My not-yet-but-soon-to-be husband listened without making me feel ridiculous.

Now we’ve come back to this point. My birthday rapidly approaching. This year, I can honestly say that I am excited. I’m trying my hand at freelance writing and a few other Internet gigs, and I’m having a good time doing it. My dreds are still a fun experience.  I moved halfway across the country. I am happily married. A lot has happened in  one year! I feel emotionally stable. Don’t judge me. I know I’m not the only one that has had an emotionally sketchy time when I felt lost and that I should be more accomplished at my age.

I need a bit of clarity. On Thursday, I will officially be 26. Now, here’s the pressing question. At 26, will I be in my late twenties? Do the rules of rounding apply? 24, 25 and 26 could be mid while 27-29 late, right? It seems like a pretty good breakdown to me! What do you think?

I remember my college days. They seem so far away now. I look back at some of those days and think “God, I was an idiot!” Hey, it’s the truth. I chalk it up to the reckless abandonment of my youth. Well, my earlier youth I guess. The fact that I was 17 when I started college may have a lot to do with it. Maybe there is some truth to becoming older and wiser.

Life choices.Basic addition.College reflections

Posted in Aging by Ashley Franklin on November 10, 2009
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rubik's cube startrubik's cuberubik's cube finishedMy little brother came home with this Rubik’s cube from the dollar store. We all love the idea of being able to get things cheaply for a dollar, but the key word to keep in mind is cheap. He’s all excited about this Rubik’s cube he bought, and I couldn’t understand it. I don’t know why it’s ever a good idea to buy a toy that is utterly frustrating, but he thought it was a good idea.

Maybe three days went past and the cube was in pieces. He’d turned it one too many times and the whole thing fell to pieces. My sister, who likens herself to a Mr. Fix It, dedicated her time (really the time it took us to get to church-about twenty or so minutes) to fixing it. She did succeed in putting it back together. All the pieces were there, and you could turn it without it falling apart again. Was it really fixed though?

Rubik’s cubes can be solved mathematically or by sheer luck. I’m pretty sure if math is involved that there’s a certain way it should be done. For that reason, I highly doubt that the cube is fixed. It looks fine on the outside. It’s functional. However, it will never be quite right.

Life is about choice. We all make choices knowing that there is going to be an outcome. My days of high school physics told me that for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Yet, in life it seems like sometimes the reactions aren’t equal. They seem a great deal bigger than those initial choices.

Let’s take college, for instance. The first choice is whether or not you choose to go. Where you choose to go largely depends on your finances, your major, location, the school’s reputation, and parental opinion. For some, parental opinion doesn’t weigh in big. For others that may be under eighteen when going to college, parental opinion can turn into parental control. Once you’re in college, you make and lose friends, add and drop classes (or in my case majors), pick and choose advisors, etc. There are tons of choices leading up to the day you earn your degree, which you receive if your choices add up correctly.

I went to a small liberal arts college, not fully by my own choice. I had almost every major in the catalogue and sported several matching advisors. Some days I went to class, and some days I didn’t. (I’ll admit I usually didn’t go to class if it was raining. I’m not a fan.) I teetered between being insecure and overly confident on a daily basis. I made good friends, and I pushed away great ones. I’m glad to say the best ones are still around. I laughed. I loved. I cried. I hated. I picked a major I was good at. Many things fell apart in college, but I got through it. I graduated.

I was functioning. I even went on to graduate school with the major I’d picked basically during my junior year. How I graduated in four years is still a mystery to most. Things were looking good on the outside. I guess I hadn’t put the pieces back together as well as I’d thought. Things just wouldn’t add up. I was pursuing a graduate degree in a subject I was good at. I was completely unhappy. It didn’t make any sense. Reading and writing was no longer fun. It was mechanical. It was methodical. It was uninteresting.

I was in a two-year program, but the expectation was to continue to the Ph.D. I just had to get through the first year and everything would fall into place. The second year came, and midway through I realized I was wrong. I was in the midst of budding scholars housing a passion for their interests. I hated teaching. I hated the classes. I wasn’t too fond of some of the professors. It looks like I didn’t put things back together correctly when they had fallen apart.

My brother made the choice to spend his dollar. He may have felt that the would find a great bargain if he went to the dollar store. He chose the toy. He chose when and how to play with it. In the end, he lost. He now has a toy that looks good on the outside but can never live up to its full potential. These are the results of the choices he made. That’s life.