Carl Sandburg College Alumni Spotlight
Ashley Gaskill, LMT '12
Degree: Therapeutic Massage Certificate
Occupation: Owner of Therapeutic Massage by Ashley Gaskill
I decided I always wanted to do massage therapy when I was a child. I was always interested in how massage made people feel good. Back then, I didn't know that it could actually physically and mentally help people. I got into the program and there was a whole new side to massage I never realized. The more I got into it, the more I loved it.
How Ashley set up her own business...
Setting up my own business was rather confusing at first. I was offered a space at a chiropractor's office in Monmouth, Illinois. After receiving my license, I had a number of things I had to do. I had to go to the bank for some funding because setting up a business is not always the cheapest thing. I then continued to set up my insurance through an accountant. They also helped me with everything else I needed, legally, to set it up. Everyone was very helpful.
What Ashley says it's like to be in charge...
To be in charge is a very empowering feeling. It is a self confidence booster. It is very scary not knowing what to do at first, but you try your best and establish the business as best you can. Putting yourself out in the community helps a lot. Networking with people you have never met before can be very helpful. It is also satisfying knowing you do not have to answer to anyone but yourself. As long as you have a strong head on your shoulders and set a goal for your business, anything is possible.
What is your favorite memory at Carl Sandburg College?
My favorite memory at Carl Sandburg College would have to be my anatomy class. Learning over 600 muscles was rather challenging, but I loved it. Our teachers, Mrs. Brunswig and Ms. Simmons, would give us a test once or twice a week on these muscles. One day, they both came up to me and asked me how I studied for my tests, because I always did so well. I laughed and told them, "You don't want to know." They said, "Tell us!" I in turn said, "The night before for two hours." They gave me this dumbfounded look. They proceeded to ask me, "Are you cheating?" I laughed and said, "That would be really daring of someone to do, especially since I sit right in front of your desk." I smiled and added, "It's easy to study for something you love. You have a greater appreciation for it.
What was your biggest challenge as a student?
My biggest challenge as a student would definitely have to be balancing home, school, and work all at the same time. There were many times I wanted to give up and quit because I felt like I couldn't juggle all three. Barely getting any sleep at night, dealing with a three month old, going to school all day, and then going to work after that. I would get home late and still find some time to study for my tests the next day. It was very challenging. If it wasn't for the support of my husband, Adam Gaskill, and him telling me you can do this, I don't know if I would have made it. He always told me a year from now you will forget how hard it was. If you don't push through it now, you will regret it later. He was right.
How has Sandburg helped to shape you future?
Carl Sandburg College has helped shape my future by simply having the support from my teachers and advisers. I don't know how many times, in the four years I was there, I was in Vicki McMullin's office asking questions like: Should I do this? Is this the right decision? What do you think is best for me? Is there a need for this career? Will it make me money? She would always say, "If this is something you would love doing, go for it." She would always encourage me to do massage therapy because that was what I wanted to do in the first place. Having that encouragement and support from teachers and advisers was very uplifting for me. It made me feel like I could accomplish something great, because they believed I could.
Do you have any advice for current/future Sandburg students?
Love and believe in yourself. Follow your dreams. It may be hard at first, but if you set your mind to it and work hard for it, things will fall into place for you.
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
If I could tell my younger self anything it would be to take one day at a time. Cherish the good moments you have and forget the bad. Look forward and have more faith in yourself because you are worth it.
Carl Sandburg College Foundation
Founded in 1969, Carl Sandburg College Foundation is an Illinois non-for-profit corporation organized exclusively for educational purposes to assist in developing and augmenting the College's facilities and carrying out the educational functions of Illinois Community College District 518. Contributions to the Foundation expand and enhance Sandburg's programs, support students through scholarships and crisis loans/grants, and provide for the capital needs of Carl Sandburg College.
The Department of the Treasury has determined Carl Sandburg College to be exempt under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3).