Ashley Parra

“I definitely would not be at Wellesley without STEP. It created this foundation that I could grow from. I was ready to plant my dream and STEP helped it grow.”
— Ashley Parra
STEP Class of 2015, Wellesley College Class of 2019

“I’m reserved,” Ashley admits, “but STEP taught me there’s nothing wrong with asking. I learned that I need to be proactive about my needs – to seek out help. Being active in pursuit of what you want is so necessary.”

That learned persistence to pursue “what you want” helped Ashley during Thanksgiving Break during her first semester at college away from home. “I didn’t get to go home and campus was really quiet. No one was here. I was so ready to go home, and finals were coming up. Mentally it was really stressful. But I kept reminding myself that I have to keep on doing this thing. I can finish strong. I have to finish strong! I had a similar struggle in the middle of my STEP Alaska trip. But I was able to finish strong. If I could do that in Alaska, I could do that in college.”

Ashley has found her niche at Wellesley by joining the archery team. “There is some overlap with STEP, especially the idea of never giving up. In archery, it gets really stressful when your arrows aren’t going where you want. But my coach tells me that every arrow is a new arrow. You can change the way you shoot every time, and the last one doesn’t effect it. It goes back to STEP and never giving up – never letting things in your past hold you back. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-generation college student. It can never hold you back.”