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Ashley Farrell ′08

When people ask me what I love about basketball, my answer is, “Everything!” I love the thrill of competition, the teamwork, bonding with the coaches and the other women on the team. So trying to imagine life without basketball, it′s hard to see me in that picture. It′s been such a big part of my life since I was a little kid.

Still, I′ve taken surprising turns before. I grew up just 20 miles from Memphis, and I never planned to go to college in this area. Then Coach Dean recruited me for the team and I fell in love with Rhodes on my first visit. I love the beauty, the size, the fact that after you′ve been here just a few minutes, you feel like you′ve known people all your life.

Rhodes is very one-on-one. The students are warm and friendly, my coaches care about my life both on and off the court, and the faculty are unbelievably understanding as well as demanding. They don′t hesitate to insist that students do their very best work, but if I have to miss a class or turn in a paper late because of a game, they are supportive, especially if you show them you′re working hard. And there are a lot of faculty members who come to every single game. I love that!

My advice to first-year students is, “Make every second count.” I learned that the hard way last year because I was used to high school being easy. Rhodes is very demanding, and I fell behind in a couple of my classes. Now I have learned to set priorities and stick to them. If I have 30 minutes between classes, I use them to study, and I head straight for the library after practice. I love studying there because everything I need is nearby and it′s motivating to be around so many other people who are working hard.

Rhodes is just great for me because it is competitive and demanding but, because everyone is so supportive, it′s not intimidating. It makes me eager to tackle tough challenges and set high goals. This year our team tied the school record but lost the championship in the semi-finals. Wait ′til next year!

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