Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Wish I Went to an HBCU

As I entered my senior year of high school, I was excited to start applying to colleges. I was already dreaming of dorm life and couldn't wait to see what it would be like to "be on my own." I didn't have a long list of qualities I wanted in a college but I did know one thing: I didn't want to go to an HBCU.

That wasn't a typo. Before I went to college, I was anti-HBCU. I believed every stereotype that surrounded them. Every school I attended prior to college had a 99.9% Black student population and I thought I needed diversity or what I thought would be diversity. I had a vision in my head of my multicolored friends sitting in the cafeteria talking and laughing. I didn't think I would find diversity at an HBCU. 

Well, as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.

Thank to the internet and MARTA, I have been able to visit the HBCUs in my city and interact with HBCU students across the country. When I hear these students talk about the history and culture of their schools, I feel a sense of longing. When I visited the AUC, I felt like I was home. The students didn't care if I went to GSU. They just wanted to have a good time. I didn't feel like a brown dot getting lost in a multicolored sea. I was around my people. 

Don't get me wrong, my experiences at GSU have mostly been positive but I feel like I would have excelled had I matriculated in more close knit environment. Yes, State has a lot of resources but they are general resources. One size fits all.

This post might come off as a bit idealistic to some but I don't care. I've been thinking about taking classes at Clark or Spelman for a change of scenery, so I might be able to test my theory. Until then, we'll just have to wait and see.

What do you think? Did you choose the right college? Are there things you would change?

Monday, August 29, 2011


I was not myself yesterday.

I was beating myself up. I was comparing myself to A, B, C and D.

Essentially, I felt like crap.

Normally, I'm a private person. It's hard for me to open up so it took me hours to muster up the courage to type this post. I don't want come off as a sap but I figure typing a post like this might help someone that is experiencing similar feelings.

I am a social media fiend. I use it every day, throughout the day. As I scroll through my news feeds and time lines, I see people raving about their new internship, apartment, kitchen sink and etc. I love seeing people experience the joy that comes with a new accomplishment but sometimes, there's an evil little voice in the back of my head.

"Why don't you have that?"

"What's wrong with you?"

Sometimes, that little voice sounds like a whisper. Sometimes, it sounds like a shriek. It drives me crazy. But I'm hopeful.

I felt this way when I was still on my Road to Philly. But I ended up in Philly and have several unedited pictures to prove it. I did that and I'm going to do more. I'm going to pull myself out of this funk.

There's a light at the end of my tunnel. There's a light at the end of every tunnel.

Sometimes, I just need a reminder.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Are you moving or shaking?

As you know, this blog is targeted towards uplifting Black students and young professionals. I'm love giving people their props is their doing it big and are good at what they do. That said, I'm looking for people to interview for my (hopefully) weekly Movers and Shakers feature.

What am I looking for?

Someone who is a beast at what they do. Young people that are trying to move on up in the world. Someone that sets themselves apart from the rest. The early bird that gets the worm.

Movers and Shakers are ideally between the ages of 18-35 but I am willing to make slight concessions.

If you or someone you know fits that description, email me at ashleighatwell@gmail.com so I can do a feature or allow them to publish a guest post.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vote or Die (er..Not Really)


Today is the LAST day for you to vote for your student representative. At 5PM, the polls will be closed and the votes will be counted. If you haven't voted, I don't know what the heck you're waiting for but you need to do so as soon as possible.

It is obvious where my allegiance lies, but we have two qualified candidates. Two students that are willing to be our only voice on the NABJ national board. That is a huge task to undertake but Marissa and Wesley are willing to step up and take it. The least we can do for them is vote. It takes less than a minute. Check the box and you're done. No bells and whistles. No jumping through hoops.

Last time, only 140 of us voted. There are over 1000 of us. There are 465 members in the NABJ students Facebook group and 766 people following the NABJ students Twitter page. I am aware that students aren't the only ones in these social media groups but we probably make up the majority. If we can click a "like" or "follow" button, we check that ballot box. We have no excuse. I don't pay $43 a year to be in this organization to rest on my laurels. If I have a voice, I'm going to use it. I love this organization and I want to see it grow. We are the future of this organization. If we are complacent now, what will happen to NABJ 10 years from now?

If you're undecided, I understand. We have two great candidates. It can be hard to choose between them. I get it. However, both of them have websites and both are easily accessible on Facebook and Twitter. Indecisiveness isn't a reason not to vote.

Hopefully, you will heed these word and check that little box. If not, I hope you get your money's worth.

Welcome Back!

Today is the official relaunch of From Atlanta to Philly!

After a lot of thought, I've decided to keep this thing going and I am very excited to bring you some fresh content. This blog started out as a fundraising accessory. Now, it has became a part of my brand and career and I will do whatever I can to keep it going. That means no more sporadic post and one dimensional content. There will most likely be a Road to NOLA (more on that later) but it will not be the central focus of this blog.

At From Atlanta to Philly, the motto is for students by a student. That means most of this content will cater to students and young professionals but don't fret if you don't fit into that category. There will be something for everyone.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wordless Week: Day 1

Hi all!

I'm in the process of revamping this blog. In the meantime, I will be posting pictures from my trip to Philadelphia. I have enough to have a Wordless Month but I wouldn't do that to my readers. I enjoyed meeting so many of you and I'm glad my little corner of the internet has touched so many people. Enjoy the pictures and I will resume my normal posting next week. 

My new favorite place in the world: Reading Terminal!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thank You!

I've been fundraising for my trip to the convention since February and as August quickly approaches, I feel like I should take some time to thank the people that have supported my efforts. There were times that made me feel like I was in over my head and I wouldn't make it to the convention but there were people that urged me to keep at it and I think those people deserve some recognition.

Mommy: Thanks for sticking with me through this process, for being the first to buy my tee shirts and for not allowing me to give up on this project. I appreciate you for all of this and more. I love you.

Toya and Dee Dee: Thank you for helping me out even though you have your own families, homes and careers to worry about. I love my big sisters and I miss you both.

Rina: Thanks for your help and generous spirit. You didn't have to do half of what you did. Thanks for the support.

The Rest of the Family: Thanks for supporting my efforts and not telling me I was crazy for doing this. I love you guys.

Jarrodd: Thanks for being where you always are: by my side. You support almost everything I do, no matter how crazy and cockamamie it might sound. I love you baby.

NABJ/AABJ Family: There are so many people I could name but this post would be entirely too long! I have forged so many great connections since I started this process and I believe those connections will last me for a lifetime. I think I have found friends, mentors and potential collaborators in many of you. Special shouts to Rod Hicks and Benet Wilson for doing your best to help me get to the convention and for your advice on everything from this trip to my career. I would also like to extend shouts to Marissa Evans for her advice and support as well. I enjoy our phone calls and I love that you trust me enough to bounce your ideas off of me. I hope we get to work together one day. I'm always one call away! I would also like to shout out my travel buddy Areyonne Johnson. You are a sweetheart and I can't wait til August. We're gonna represent for GSU!

If I forgot your name, please don't feel slighted. I appreciate EVERYONE that has been supportive (I need another word, lol) of this journey.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Philly: Days 2 and 3

It has been a long and exciting two days since I've blogged about my time in Philly. Time to catch up.

On Wednesday, I started my day off with a learning lab co-sponsored by NABJ's Visual and Digital Journalism task forces. The session, titled Multimedia Training: The Innovation, gave attendees an introduction to visual journalism and shared information on how to use technology to enhance a journalist's career. The panelist shared software, social media ideas, and other ways potential multimedia journalists can take their career to the next level. I walked into that session as a print journalist and left wanting to be able to myself a multimedia journalist by next year's convention.

After the lab, me and a group of students went to the Reading Terminal Market for lunch. It was awesome. They had everything. Vendors sold a variety of items including fresh meat, fresh fruit, jewelry, clothing and handmade cosmetics. There were various restaurants that sold a variety of cuisines including Mediterranean, Chinese and Italian.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do much after the learning lab and lunch because I had to hold a conference call but thankfully, yesterday made up for that short day.

Yesterday morning, my day began with the Arianna Huffington talk. As expected, there was controversy over NABJ's decision to let her talk and the crowd was met with protesters distributing fliers about Huffington's rumored unwillingness to pay some of her writers. Nonetheless, the event went off without a hitch. Highlights included a personal message from President Obama, a jig, speech and Q&A from Attorney General Eric Holder and a dance from a troupe from Camden, New Jersey. After the Huffington event, I went to a round table that included some of NABJ's 44 founders, who discussed everything from the industry during the 60s and 70s to the founding of NABJ and the Unity controversy. I felt privileged to be apart of that event and it made me proud to be a member of this organization.

When the founders' event was over, I was able to grab lunch with a few other students before heading back to Marriott to "volunteer" with the Digital Journalism task force. I don't want to say why I put the word volunteer into quotes just yet but I would like to give my fellow students a bit of advice: if you're asked to volunteer, do it. Don't ask questions. Just do it.

I ended the night with the Student's Choice Awards. That event was the first time I was able to chill with a large group of students without professionals around. Needless to say, it was a good time to be had by all and I will show you how good of a time it was in another post.

Time for pictures!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Philly: Day 1

Greetings from the City of Brotherly Love!

I made it to Philly yesterday and I hit the ground running.

I boarded my first flight at 11 AM after going through the zoo that is Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. The flight itself was relatively uneventful but the ride to the hotel made me appreciate my hometown. Prior to my arrival, I thought Atlanta had the worst roads ever but Philly has Atlanta beat in that area. Riding that shuttle made me feel like I was on a mini roller coaster.

I made it to the hotel in about 10 minutes and tried unsuccessfully to take a nap. After an hour or so, I started to doze off and that's when my roommate, Benet Wilson AKA YOUR Aunt Benet came to the room and had me get dressed and accompany her to a reception. Admittedly, I was a tad confused but I threw on some clothes. The event turned out to be a reception for the Philadelphia Media Network. I met and spoke with several notable NABJers including NABJ co-founder Paul Brock, current NABJ presidential candidates Deirdre Childress and Charles Robinson III and former NABJ president, Herb Lowe.

It was a great event and I'm glad Aunt Benet took me because networking is key and I can never have too
many connections.

Now, without further ado, pictures!