My name is Ashley, but most people call me Ash. I prefer it that way because where I live in New York, this is a very common name. As of right now, I am a senior in high school. In a few months, I will be off to college. Initially, I wanted to take a year off to just relax and explore but I fear that i won’t ever find it in me to go back to school so I’m planning on going to community college. That way, my schedule will be more flexible and I can take care of my mental health much easier than I would be able to in a competitive university. Gender and Women’s studies is what I plan to major in. I really enjoy learning about other people’s experiences in life, especially people of marginalized identities. Although I seem to know what direction i want to take, I’m not sure about what career I’m aiming for. I have a great fear of disappointing my family so on some level, I do want to become what society idealizes are successful. I want lots of money and a nice house. But I have no idea what i want to do.

I am an immigrant. My mother and i moved to New York when I was seven years old. There’s just so many opportunities for your future in America. In Barbados, not much is really expected of you so most people don’t really do much with their lives. And with my grandparents already living here, my mother couldn’t resist. When I came to America, it was a really intense culture shock. For the first year of my time here, i was really confused. Things such as the ways Americans spell color and Barbadians (and the rest of the world) says colour frustrated me and confused me. I was now learning how to read and write so for me to just have to adjust to a completely different school system really messed me up. Luckily, I was able to keep up academically and was even a little ahead of the class when it came to reading and writing. As well as I was doing academically, I was really struggling socially. Because I had a foreign accent and I was tall, I was bullied a lot. My bullies basically forced me to fake an American accent in fear of humiliation. I faked it until it came natural to me. I’m not exactly sure when i lost my accent, but it makes me really sad to this day.

Ashley Williams

Pelham Lab 2018