Ashleigh Koener has applied for our Jet Business Scholarship and her essay was selected to be one of our finalists. Below is some information about Ashleigh and her essay submission. You can vote for her submission by clicking here.
Senior at Brigham Young University
Major – Information Systems
What do you enjoy about your studies?
Without question, I most enjoy the thrill of learning and understanding and -- most importantly -- apply new concepts and ideas.
What hobbies/organizations/jobs are you included in?
I spend most of my working hours as a lead systems administrator. I also work part time as an administrative assistant/actress for a children's party company. On the side, I love club involvement with organizations through college (Accounting Society, Association for Information Systems, etc.). And as far as hobbies go, I most enjoy reading, outdoor sports and activities, coding, and I have a soft spot in my heart for archery.
Ashleigh's Essay. Would you rather work for someone else in an established company or start your own business and work for yourself? What motivates your choice?
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
So concludes the poem, “Invictus,” through which the power of a life-well-lived may be understood. The fact is – without determination, life happens to you. But, through decisive resolve, your life can be molded to include the shape of your dreams.
My dreams, personally, take the shape of entrepreneurship. Truly, even just the idea of running my own business causes me to bubble with excitement. To be the steward of my livelihood, to push my talents to their limits, to provide quality services, to continually problem-solve, theorize, and analyze – for me, those are qualities of a joyful existence.
As a child, my mother taught me daily, through powerful examples. I’d watch her find joy in all areas of life. I specifically remember one day; we were driving to the grocery store. Out of bluest of blues, she suddenly swerved the car off the side of the road and looked at me with wide, youthfully joyous eyes.
“Dandelions…” she whispered – with an urgency unbefitting the dialogue.
Confused, I watched as she dashed from the car to the side of the road. Indeed, there lay a field brimming full of dandelions, all ripe and ready for a big burst of breathy wind to send their seeds soaring.
And I think that’s really when it struck me – isn’t that what it’s all about? Finding joy and your life with the things you find most fulfilling?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of my mother’s favorite novels is Dandelion Wine. In the book, Ray Bradbury makes this powerful statement, “You’ll find out it’s little savors … that count more than big ones. A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it’s full of flavors… You’ve time to seek and find.” Truly, this is what life is about – the little things. Making the most of every moment. Too often, I’ve seen people beaten down by the dull hum-drum of their daily workplace monotony. Drained by the hours spent making money to sustain life. The very “life” that they spend their whole work day aching to return to. Their work day itself passes by slowly and begrudgingly, regarded as simply a “means” for life… but treated as a separate entity from that “life” itself. That is not for me. I am ready to do what it takes and to face whatever odds necessary to make my life wholly lived. I can and will do what is needed to feel as alive during the labors of work as I do during the thrills of family time.
I am motivated by this dream because I have a vision of who I can and will be – of how I can and will live wholly. The difference between a dream and a destiny is determination. An “unconquerable soul.” And I stand ready; armed with a determination to create, change, innovate… to be, “the captain of my soul.”