Ashlyn Hartman watched her four older siblings spend their final year of high school at Corning Community College. She knew it was a good plan. She also knew she could make the plan better.
Ashlyn decided to spend her final two years of high school at Corning Community College (CCC). This week, Ashlyn will be one of 365 graduates at CCC who will turn her tassel after earning an associate of science degree. A few weeks later, she will earn a New York State Regents degree from Corning-Painted Post High School (C-PP).
“The process of earning my associate’s degree was a great experience for me,” said Ashlyn. “It helped me navigate. I focused more. I really thought about who I saw and what I did outside of school.”
Which was a lot. Ashlyn’s dual student role didn’t limit her social life at all. She was a member of the C-PP volleyball team, the president of the C-PP’s Sister Cities club, a board member of the National Honor Society, and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community colleges. Despite all of these activities, Ashlyn still found time to work two jobs – she is a manager at Tony Rs and a cashier at Wegmans – and dedicate time to exploring career options.
“It was tough picking a major, let alone a career path, because I was only 15 when I started,” said Ashlyn. “So I did a lot of shadowing.”
Ashlyn considered being a veterinarian. She spent time with an orthodontist. She talked to a bioengineer and worked with scientists. In the end, she fell in love with anesthesiology and is hoping to complete an internship at a local hospital this summer before she enrolls at the University of Buffalo this fall to complete her bachelor’s degree.
“Being an anesthesiologist is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Ashlyn. “You’re in the middle of everything. Nothing happens without you. You’re seeing something different all the time. It’s perfect.”
That is also how she describes the path she took to arrive where she is right now. Although intimidating at first, she hopes to serve as an inspiration for freshmen and sophomores at C-PP.
“It’s not for everyone,” she said. “You need to be independent, responsible, and self-motivated. The professors at the college are not the same as the teachers at the high school. But if you want it, it’s doable and definitely worth it.”