Today we’re featuring one of the many incredible students of Salem University who inspire us every day with their hard work, focus, and goals for making an impact on the world around them. We had the pleasure of talking with Ashia King, accounting student and president of the student government who will start on her master’s degree at Salem in the fall.
Can you tell me a little about yourself? What brought you to Salem University? What are you studying?
I am a 22-year-old achiever from The Bahamas. I love to sing, and I’ve had a passion for track and field since I was just a toddler. My interest in sports, the small campus population, the diverse cultures, and the relationship I had built with the coach at that time brought me to Salem. I spoke with many other schools, but it was something special about Salem University that I could not put my finger on. That impression was verified when I arrived; it felt like home. Yes, it was different, but being around so many people who are also far away from home made me feel completely at ease. I’m not much of a huge campus person in the first place, so Salem University’s intimate setting was ideal for me to grow and focus in. I studied accounting here and will return to start my master’s degree this September.
You’re currently the president of the student government. What inspired you to get involved with that?
It all started with the Black Student Union. Dennis McNaboe, the Dean of Student Affairs, came up to me one day and told me he had asked a student who they thought exhibits great leadership, fit to be the Black Student Union President, and they recommended me. I was extremely astounded because it was just my sophomore year and I thought I was new to everyone, but you never know who is watching you from afar. I had many doubts about my capability to hold this position, but I finally gave in and mastered it.
I enjoyed being the Black Student President, I never wanted to let it go, until I was voted by the school to be the SGA President. It took a lot for me to do it because I was so attached to BSU. However, I thought about how much we could get done as a student body through BSU and wanted to see us work together more, which is what truly inspired me to accept the position. Student government is a powerful organization to be a part of. I encourage any student in college that has a passion for the success of their school and being a voice of the student body to join this program.
What have you achieved so far in your position as president? What goals are still on your bucket list?
We did a lot so far, though there is still much more for us to get done. So far, we have made improvements to the cafeteria, organization expansions, internet improvements, on-campus parking expansions, and many more minor changes that made major differences. Our bucket list includes an effectively operated meal exchange program (which is 100% happening in September 2022), improvements to the laundry services, adjusted COVID protocols, improved resident halls conditions, and painting the parking lot spaces. I am confident that the incoming SGA committee for the years 2022-2023 will do an outstanding job implementing our wishlist, and I will gladly assist them as needed.
Tell me about your time at Salem so far. What has your experience been like?
It has been a roller coaster ride. I had never lived on my own prior to college, let alone living in another country alone. It was a lot to adjust to, but that is what college is all about. Establishing independence and overcoming through inner strength.
Moreover, the staff at Salem are extremely accommodating and amenable, which was very helpful for me. Most importantly, the friends that I made truly were my medicine in many moments. They helped cure emotions I felt that all college students feel, and they were always there when I needed them. We created close bonds that will never be broken. I love them, and I will always appreciate them. We all understand each other and accept one another for who we are. I will always remember them. They were instrumental in propelling me through my years at Salem.
What has your experience with Salem’s professors been like? And what kind of connections have you built with fellow students?
My experience has been amazing. Communicating with professors was never a tough task for me, even when I became 100% online due to COVID. They always responded to my emails, texts, and phone calls in a timely fashion. The lecturers are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. I’m sure a few of them know my identity by now, because, as I previously stated, I am always asking questions and I am an extremely persistent individual.
I have unique relationships with many students on campus. My outgoing personality allowed me to make a lot of acquaintances at school, especially among international students. Because we have so much in common, getting along is a breeze for us. Through Salem, I’ve met people from all across the world, and I aim to keep our connections strong. Because I was their voice on campus, it was critical for me to have accessible relationships with students. And it was easy for me to know what needed to be done considering that I knew so much about everyone’s varied backgrounds prior to my position in SGA. Salem taught me the value of developing relationships and networks. I’m grateful for the ones I’ve created.
What has been the biggest benefit of being part of Salem University? Or what has been your favorite part so far?
One of the most important advantages of being a part of Salem University is the exposure. Living on such a diverse campus opened my eyes to the various ways of life. Coming from a small country, learning about and seeing different cultures and societies was intriguing. Being around people who aren’t like me, or who aren’t from the same country as me, taught me a lot. It is a beautiful thing to experience, and I would never take that opportunity for granted. Salem University also exposed many intrinsic traits that I didn’t know I had — or I knew I had them, but just was afraid to bring them out.
Where do you see yourself after graduation? What goals are you aiming for?
In August, I will begin my master’s degree in business management while continuing to work at Salem as a graduate assistant for Student Life. With true enthusiasm, commitment, and consistency, I hope to continue to advance my purpose at Salem. As Salem continues to help me grow, I am glad for the opportunity to invest my talents in my school for another year. During this period, I want to hone and find more valuable skills about myself that will help me be a more successful person in both my personal and professional interests.
Any last words of encouragement or advice for prospective students?
I strongly advise you to take risks and put yourself out there. Never be afraid of obstacles; you already have all the answers, so trust yourself. Establish reciprocal ties with students, instructors, and staff on campus as well; you never know who you might need in the future, and a college is an excellent place to network.
Also, put in the effort! Yes, it’s fine to have a good time socially, but always put your education first. I promise you, nothing will ever be fun while you have tasks on your mind, so just use time management to your advantage. Absorb as much experience and knowledge as you can within your four years, because time flies. I am proud of what I accomplished at Salem because I kept my eyes on the prize and I never gave up, I know you can do it too!