This episode features Ashley Grosch, a 2005 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. In this episode, you’ll hear all about Ashley’s journey as a soccer recruit from Texas to eventually owning a farm in Virginia. There’s a long and winding transformational journey involving time as a surface warfare officer, many adventures as a triathlete, the roller coaster ride of becoming a mom to 4 little boys, and eventually ending up as the owner of a ridiculous number of chickens. Ashley’s story highlights the importance of taking time and space to press the pause button and reevaluate your life; she’s reinvented herself multiple times and pushes herself to pivot when she knows things aren’t aligned. Enjoy the show!
KEY TOPICS OF DISCUSSION:
- Being a recruited athlete
- Hiding behind perfection
- What it was like to be a midshipmen during 9/11
- The impact of being a woman in a male-dominated environment
- Can you tell everyone where you’re from? What school you went to and when you graduated?
- Can you give everyone 1-2 lines about who you are?
1:35 PART I:
- What made you choose a Service Academy – and what made you specifically choose the U.S. Naval Academy?
- Was there any military in your family?
- What was it like being a recruited athlete to an Academy?
- Did you give any thought to what life would be like serving in the military?
- Did your family, friends, and school support your decision?
- Did you have any idea what you would do post graduation?
6:15 PART II:
- How did that plebe summer go?
- If you had to sum up your time at the Academy in one word, what would it be?
- Did you play soccer for the full 4 years?
- Making the decision to leave the soccer team.
- How did Academics go for you at the Academy
- What were some of the highlights of your time during the Academy?
14:50 PART III:
- What were some of the more memorable experiences you had at the Academy?
- What were some of the low lights at the Academy?
- How did 9/11 impact your time at the Academy?
- What it was like to be a woman in a male dominated environment.
- What does it mean to hide behind perfection?
25:10 PART IV:
- As you started to approach graduation, were you more clear about what you wanted to do next?
- Choosing SWO and co-location.
- What were some of the biggest lessons you learned during your time at the Academy?
- Feeling challenged for the first time amongst peers.
30:30 PART V:
- Tell me about your life post graduation in Norfolk.
- Dealing with loneliness and having to pivot.
- Getting pregnant and having to pivot.
41:30 PART VI:
- How did getting pregnant alter your career trajectory?
- Leaving on deployment at 6 months pregnant.
- Struggling with PTSD and trauma.
- Channeling pain into something good.
51:30 CONCLUDING THOUGHTS:
- Starting a new career path post-military.
- How do you currently feel about your decision to attend an Academy?
- What’s next for you?
- Do you have any parting words for listeners? Perhaps a key message to your fellow Service Academy sisters?
- What’s one random fun fact about you?
- Where can people reach you?
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