Dear 18-year-old Ashlee,


You are young and naive but you’re coming into college ready to learn. Who knew how much learning you’d actually have to do? You just wrapped up your first workout as a VCU Ram and honestly, it’s not quite what you expected. I mean, you didn’t even pick up a basketball the entire workout. 

You’ve never had to push yourself through that much fatigue and you’ve never felt as exhausted in your life as you do in this moment. How can this be just the first day? If it’s this tough, how are you going make it through the first week? How are you going to make it through these next four years? Is this what it takes? Is this really something you want to do? These are only a few of the million questions that are racing through your mind as you walk back to your dorm from the Siegel Center. You feel overwhelmed and unsure at this new challenge but don’t lose hope because some of the most wonderful times of your life lie ahead of you. 

Everything you are feeling in those moments, the sore legs and the fatigue, from the work you’re putting in right now, will pay off in the most rewarding way. And hey, your momma didn’t raise a quitter! 

Here are a few things that might help ease the pain and weariness you feel right now. IT WILL GET EASIER! Your passion and love for this game will keep you going, no matter how much you want to quit. You are not as tired as you think you are. You will be able to push through the 6 a.m. conditioning, the lifts and the mile tests because of your will and determination. It will provide you with many opportunities and you will meet so many amazing people. 

Your teammates will become so much more than just your best friends; they will become your sisters. You never knew that you could love a group of girls so much. On the court, you will challenge yourself as you go toe-to-toe with some of the best programs in college basketball. You will knock off a Top 25 team on their home floor and you will get to play under some of the brightest lights. 

You will tackle many obstacles in your life, both personally and athletically. You will beat those odds and you will be getting to live a life that many people only dream of. 

Despite all these great moments, failure is inevitable, but don’t ever let those failures make you lose sight of your goals. 

You’ll play with so much passion that at times you’ll feel overwhelmed and that your emotions could get the best of you, but staying focused is key. There will be highs and there will be lows, but don’t worry; everything will fall into place because you are exactly where God wants you to be. 

You will watch yourself grow into a person that you love being. You will make memories that will last a lifetime. You will learn so much about life and basketball from so many others around you. 

You will play this game for the last time as a senior and you will look back only to realize that this truly was the best experience of your life. Basketball is your first love and it will always be in your heart. You’ll know that when you put down that ball for the last time, you will be able to see all the different ways this game has made you a better person and that it has changed your life forever.


With love,