"Saint Martin's has really transformed me into the person I am today. I am a lot more confident in myself than I have ever been."
Ashley Taylor is a junior psychology major and a Benedictine Scholar. She came to Saint Martin’s University from her hometown of Riverside, California. She’s a member of the Campus Activities Board (CAB) and she’s involved with SEPIA, the Science of Eating Pathologies and Illness. She works in the research lab of Lindsay Meyer, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology. Ashley took time to answer questions about her work in Dr. Meyer’s lab and her experience at Saint Martin’s.
What are your responsibilities in Dr. Meyer's research lab? What are you working on?
We all worked on a research chapter for a Nova [Science Publishers] textbook. It's about risk and resiliency factors of college students’ mental health. I worked on the guidelines portion for that section, as well as editing and finding supplemental research for the others to incorporate. We submitted the chapter to the textbook editors at the end of October and will hear back by the end of November.
Now I'm transitioning to helping with doing research that's centered on religious holidays and eating pathologies. So eating disorders in general, are they religiously affiliated, are they more affected by friends and peers, or is it family, is it social media? During religious holidays like Fat Tuesday for example, we’ll take questionnaires and ask students what they think when they're engaging in the religious activities.
How's your experience been at Saint Martin's and what have you enjoyed the most about your time here?
It's definitely been an up-and-down roller coaster. My first year was tough, but that was more me dealing with personal issues. But my second year, it was a much better transition for me. I've found a great group of people that I connected well with. I've been on CAB, the Campus Activities Board, since my freshman year, and I loved it my freshman year, but I truly started putting my heart and soul into it in my sophomore year.
I was a Norcia mentor my sophomore year and I was also a Norcia my freshman year too. When I finally got that mentor position, I started to feel like this was home because I was so involved. I feel like I've found my place in so many different parts of campus here, there are so many leadership opportunities.
Who's the person who's influenced you most at Saint Martin's?
Honestly I would say my boss, Liz Rumball [assistant director of campus life], has impacted me the most. She’s made me recognize my strengths and recognize my value as a person. And she's helped me—she's seen my lowest of lows, especially my freshman year. She came here the first year I was here, so we were both like first-years together. She helped me through all that, and it means a lot to me.
What advice would you give to a new student?
Try to get as involved as possible. Take the first semester as a trial session and then when you feel comfortable and you feel like you have your course load under control, then start getting involved, because second semester is when the homesickness does start to hit. So involving yourself and getting yourself immersed is really important.
What else would you like to say about your experience here?
Saint Martin's has really transformed me into the person I am today. I am a lot more confident in myself than I have ever been. I used to think I was independent, and moving away I was like, “Oh, I'm so super independent, I think I can live on my own, I can do my own thing.” Then after about the first month I realized I wasn’t ready.
Saint Martin's has had the resources and the people here who supported me and pushed me to reach my full potential. I don't know if I would have been able to do that at a bigger university.
Note on the textbook chapters: Meyer, L., Monson, M., *Porter, T., & *Taylor, A., (invited, under review). College Student Mental Health Part 1: Deconstructing Risk Factors Impacting College Student Mental Health; and Meyer, L., *Porter, T., *Taylor, A., & Monson, M. (invited, under review). College Student Mental Health Part 2: Resiliency and Guidelines to Supporting Mental Health in the College Student Population. EdS pending. “Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges in College Students,” Nova Science Publishers, Inc. Hauppauge, NY.