June 1, 2010 I published the last issue (at least for a while) of Girl Talk my teen girl magazine. Since this blog was originally designed for the purpose of publishing weekly devotions for the magazine and later the magazine itself I decided to create another blog that isn’t connected to Girl Talk.

I’ll probably still publish book reviews or other items here now and again but you’ll more often find me at Trusting Him with Today. I hope you’ll stop by

Feb 1, 2010

Spotlight on Miss Ashlea Archer

Every day is a new challenge. The closer I get to my career goals, the more confronted I am by things that make me feel sometimes intimidated or even frustrated. The blessing is in knowing that others have made this journey and that the mark in time I have made thus far was through faith, hard work and perseverance.
Ashlea Archer

It was five years ago when I first interviewed this courageous young woman. At that time she was a twelfth grader at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Marsh Harbour, Abaco Bahamas with an impressive academic record and big plans for the future. Now, twenty-one years old, Ashlea Archer is following the first phase of her college dream at Florida Southern College. Ashlea has faced medical problems both in high school and since she’s started college but she has an indomitable spirit that refuses to give up.

In high school you dreamt of becoming a heart surgeon. Is that still your goal? Yes, that is still my overall career goal. After graduating from high school I was blessed to work at a clinic on Abaco for several months and take part in the Student Temporary Employment Programme (S.T.E.P.) at Doctor’s Hospital. This experience was definitely a driving force for me to continue my journey. The more I saw, the more I felt inspired to be like the outstanding medical officers I shadowed.

How close are you to achieving your goal? I complete my undergraduate degree in Biology/pre-med May 2010. The next step is medical school which can take anywhere from 4-9 years. The time is somewhat extensive because I desire to specialize in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery.

How is college life different from high school?
The difference comes into play when you are faced with the responsibility to remain focused. There is no one to “supervise” your decisions so who you are comes to light as you are faced with adult decisions.

How do you handle being away from your family for extended periods? This is honestly best answered by the fact that I like to keep busy. I am very involved on my college campus and this helps to keep me focused. I also have wonderful friends who have become like family to me. Moreover, my sister has recently joined me at college so I definitely feel closer to home when I am with her.

Was there ever a period when you were not focused? As far as a moment when my focus lapsed, that would have to be second semester of my junior year. I was diagnosed with tumors in my breast and had to have surgery. This was a trying time because it placed physical pain on me as well as a lot of emotional strain on my family. I felt very overwhelmed at times and did my best to attend classes thankfully, my professors were very understanding. Shortly after my surgery one of my best friends died from a medical condition. I felt like my world was crumbling but by the grace of God and support of amazing friends and family that semester is behind me.

What do you do to unwind and have fun? I am really bad at taking breaks. But, I love exploring so I might take a bike ride with my sister if we have a free weekend. Long drives and shopping are also a fun. Also, one of my favorite things to do is sing (and I will be learning to play guitar soon). So, my friends and I can get into a music room and have a jam session, that’s always a great time.

One thing I noticed about you as a teenager was your passion for your faith. Was it difficult to maintain? It was difficult when I tried to walk it out alone. God divinely set friends in my life that have the same goals for spiritual growth that I do. In addition, my sister is also very strong in her relationship with God and she uplifts me in prayer as I do for her.

What advice do you have to encourage young ladies to follow their dreams? Perseverance is critical. My father tells me that a dream cannot become a reality until you wake up and map out a plan. Also, investigate what the qualifications are for your dream. If it is a college/program you may need certain grades, community service hours, letters of recommendation etc. Do not let the work intimidate you instead allow it to motivate you. "You can do ALL things through Christ Jesus!"

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