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Reading to grow

Reading to grow

By Ashley Kelsey

Growing up I loved to read, everywhere I went there was a book in my hand. But as soon as I hit college that all changed, this thing called “adulting” happened and I was insanely busy. From running track, participating in campus activities, going to social events, going to my classes and actually studying...there was really no time to really sleep let alone read a book. But in 2018 that all was going to change. I set a goal to read a book a month, 12 books in total by the end of the year. My grandfather had a love for reading as well and my grandmother gave me quite a few of his books the last time I visited her. One of his books called “The Mis-Education of the Negro” by Carter Woodson really intrigued me so I decided to start my 2018 book reading journey with this book. I absolutely loved it! One of my favorite things the book talked about was African-Americans educating themselves and passing that information on to their families and peers. This motivated me even more to reach my goal.


At the end of May this past year, I went home for my brother’s graduation and while I was there I had brunch with a good friend of mine. She mentioned that she was thinking about starting this book club for women and asked me what I thought about the idea. I told her I thought it was a great idea and I would love to be a part of it. The book club would read one book a month that we voted on as a group and we would discuss the book at the end of the month. A few of my favorite things about being in this book club included hearing the other women’s perspectives on the book we read, hearing about their life experiences, and seeing all of the book recommendations. Being in the book club motivated me even more and helped me choose what book I wanted to read next outside of the book club.


I ended up reaching my goal for 2018 and was able to sneak one more book in. The books I read are the following:

1.       The Mis-Education of the Negro: Carter Woodson

2.       Operation Financial Freedom: James Dicks

3.       We’re Going to Need More Wine: Gabrielle Union

4.       An American Marriage: Tayari Jones

5.       The Secret: Rhonda Byrne

6.       The 5 Love Languages: Gary Chapman

7.       Homegoing: Yaa Gyasi

8.       The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***: Mark Manson

9.       Investing for Dummies: Eric Tyson

10.   Becoming: Michelle Obama

11.   Investing for Beginners: The Motley Fool

12.   You Are a Badass: Jen Sincero

13.   The 48 Laws of Power: Robert Greene


As you can see, there are a wide variety of books on this list which includes finance, self-help, novels, autobiographies, etc. My goal for 2019 is to read 18 books. I feel like reaching this goal will definitely be tough because I’m busy just as much as the next person; I’m currently working on my Ph.D., working full time for the federal government, participating in sorority activities, and trying to enjoy time with my family and friends. But I know if I stay diligent I can reach this goal. I love learning and reading about new things and I also love being able to use my imagination. I encourage everyone to read more and if you don’t like reading I encourage you to try an audiobook. I prefer to read a physical book but audiobooks allow you to multitask.


I saw so much growth in myself in 2018 and I think the main reason I saw so much growth was because I picked up a book whenever I had the chance. I’m expecting to learn and grow even more in 2019!

About the author:

Ashley Kelsey has been a program manager for the federal government since the completion of her masters degree in 2015. In 2014, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). A year later, she obtained her master’s degree in electrical engineering from PVAMU, where her research focus was in Cyber Security. In 2016, she published her research in the International Journal of Cyber-Security and Digital Forensics titled “A Discrete Wavelet Transform Approach for Enhanced Security in Image Steganography”. Ashley is currently working on her doctoral degree in industrial engineering at New Mexico State University (NMSU) and is expecting to graduate in the fall of 2020.

You can follow her on instagram: @ashleysimonek

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