Column: Small town girl meets college life

Ashley Gambrel
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Growing up in Belden, Mississippi, a small country town in Pontotoc County, I always had big dreams.

As a child, I knew that I was going to go to college and become someone rich and famous. Then reality set in. As my senior year at North Pontotoc High School came to an end, I had no idea what I wanted to do with the remainder of my life. I did not know which college to attend, what to major in, or if I even wanted to stay in Mississippi.

With most of my high school friends going to community colleges close to home, I began to think that going straight to a university was too big of a transition for me. But then I remembered Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.” After going back and forth between schools, I finally decided Ole Miss was the place for me.

My first year at the university was a huge adjustment for me. Living on my own and having to make my own decisions made me mature a lot. Going from classes of 20 to now classes of 120 was very intimidating.

Also, coming from a high school where I was known by everyone, and now barely knowing the people that sit across from me in class was difficult. I realized that I was going to have to put in a lot of time and effort if I wanted to succeed here.  However, as time progressed, I learned how to cope with these things, and it ultimately made me a better person and student.

Since being at the university I have made memories that will last a lifetime. I met my best friends, and made relationships with people who have truly impacted my life. I realized that this university is more than tailgating in the Grove and going out to the Square. It truly is a family.

Being a student here also made me recognize that everyone is not always going to agree, and that not everyone has the same beliefs and upbringing as me. I have never witnessed racism or discrimination until I came to this university. In a sense, I am glad that I was able to experience these incidents. Now I am better prepared and aware of how to handle different situations.

The college life brings out the best and worst in people. However, I can say that it has brought out the best in me. Now being a junior, and starting to plan for my future, I feel as though I am better prepared to take on the world. I have seen and been exposed to things that I never would have had to deal with if I had stayed in Belden.

Although I still have a lot more to learn, Ole Miss has played a major role in developing me into the strong, independent, humble, and ambitious woman that I am today.

Being a Christian woman, I truly believe in the saying “God will not put more on you than you can bear.” Although I was skeptical about coming to this university, I am glad that I did. I am so grateful for the opportunities that Ole Miss has given me thus far. I have had a lot of late nights, and early mornings. However, they have all been worth it.

I decided to make The University of Mississippi my new home, and while it has not been easy, it was been one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I am looking forward to my future here at the university, and seeing what else is in store for me.


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