East swimmer Ashley Ong commits to the University of North Florida

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Courtesy of The College Post

Ashley Ong (’21) commits to college as a D1 swimmer.

Ashley Ong (‘21), a current high school senior at East, has decided to commit to the University of North Florida as a D1 swimmer. At UNF, she will major in psychology in hopes of one day becoming a child psychologist or therapist.

The college commitment process was certainly not an easy job, especially during the pandemic. “The biggest obstacle for me personally was just starting the research and the whole process of finding and narrowing down colleges I am interested in,” Ong says. In terms of college visits, Ong thinks she was fortunate to be able to spend her winter break in Florida where all the colleges she applied to were located. Although no one was there to show her around, she took the opportunity to look around and familiarize herself with the campuses.

“It definitely is important to be able to go onto a campus you are interested in, and, of course, the surrounding area,” she says.

As a swimmer for nearly ten years who started the sport at eight and a half years old, Ong says that “swimming actually hasn’t always been such a clear course”. Although it was the only sport she was dedicated to playing, she was aware of the immense pressure one gets from competitions and the need to constantly improve. She mentioned that she even contemplated quitting at one point. But despite the obstacles she faces as a swimmer, she has ultimately decided to follow through with swimming in college.

The biggest reason is the same reason why she enjoys high school and summer swim: it is very team oriented. “I love having the support of my team with me and grew to absolutely love every part of being on the East team,” she says.

As for her main area of study, psychology, Ong says she has always been curious about human behavior and the functions of the brain. According to the senior, the AP psychology course she took in her junior year with now-retired teacher Mrs. Ermey really helped to clarify her interest. “It was a class I always looked forward to even though the tests were hard,” she said. “I specifically want to learn about child psychology to become a child psychologist or therapist because I want to be able to help others, and especially children, because I love children.”

As she heads into college, Ong has several aspirations in mind. “Some goals in general I have for the future include getting a stable job while at UNF, gaining more muscle weight for swim, creating a great and strong friend group, and learning to cook better dishes,” she says.