Her outrageous, contagious, shmunshmejious* humor has gotten to most of us (and even some strangers) at least once. People who don’t know Ashleigh, know Ashleigh. Recently, the Eagle had time to sit down with one of our own and learn more about the woman, the (OKWU) legend, Ashleigh “Smash” Johnson.
Now a senior Secondary English Education major hailing from the small town of Concordia, Kansas, Ashleigh heard of OKWU through her hometown Wesleyan church.
“My pastor had gone here, my youth pastor had gone here, and we went to camps every summer and the OKWU teams would come in and be nuts and we loved it … [We didn’t talk about it, but we knew we had a score to settle].”
Although she didn’t plan to attend OKWU at first, after a series of visits, Ashleigh changed her mind and eventually had the opportunity to be on a camp team like the ones that had such an influence on her life. However, her first year here, before joining that team, was a difficult one. Ashleigh recalls:
My first semester here, I hated everything … I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t want to know anyone … I wasn’t engaging in what was here. I hated the school. I just wanted my friends [from home] back. It wasn’t until the last day of that semester, Kelsey Totino reached out to me … we had a really great conversation, and from that developed a friendship and I got out in the OKWU community more, and got to know some of the leadership, some of my professors … and saw how much people genuinely care in the community that makes up this school if you reach out and put yourself out there.
This experience, she notes, is behind the advice she wants all OKWU students to take to heart: Engage.
That’s exactly what Ashleigh has done, and the evidence of her participation in the OKWU community is obvious. She has become deeply involved in campus life. This is her second year as a Resident Assistant:
Eagle: What’s your favorite thing about the RA job?
Ashleigh: I. Love. Those. Stinking. Weirdos. They’re so weird. And I love them. When I was put in Wesley as an RA, I was super … “yikes!” … there were going to be so many girls … but getting to know all of them was a blast. It was really overwhelming at times, but I loved it. That’s how I knew I wanted to do it again. And it turned out that a lot of the same girls chose to go to Upper Colaw, so it’s been really cool to have two years of building relationships with some of those girls.
Eagle: Best OKWU experience?
Ashleigh: The alien summoning of 2012 … Basically, we found in the OKWU handbook (who reads the handbook, actually?!) a little excerpt in there about offenses and consequences. We legitimately found one that said a possible offense was summoning alien life forms. So, immediately, I drew a little square beside it and put ‘OKWU BUCKET LIST’ and I’m like, ‘I’m gonna check that off before I graduate.’ So, Allie Antrim and I and a ton of other people went to Dollar General and got so much alien-summoning material. Plungers, rubber gloves, tin foil hats, glow sticks, and we pumped dubstep out by the pond and we summoned the aliens. Then Chris Breiland burst out of his apartment and said ‘HEY! WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING!? YOU KNOW THIS IS AGAINST THE RULES!’ And he came at us. So we surrounded him and tried to throw him in the pond.
Eagle: Most awkward OKWU experience? *long pause* Most awkward thing in the last two weeks? Narrow it down?
Ashleigh: I mean, I poured an entire cup of tea into my scarf today in the caf, and then it just kind of plopped out all over my clothing after, and I didn’t know I had poured it into my scarf, and I think honestly that was just a nice surprise for my day.
Eagle: Greatest passion?
Ashleigh: Hmm, I was going to say old people, and then I was gonna say young people, and then people my age. So I think it’s just people … I just love developing relationships. Honestly, my biggest passion, the thing I feel most purposeful about, is discipleship. Even if that’s teaching in the public schools, finding ways to incorporate worldview questions, things of depth, that make students think about what they believe and why they believe it, even if I can’t come right out and say everything I want to say.
Eagle: Okay, now for the rapid fire. First thing that comes to your mind …
Eagle: One girl on your floor?
Ashleigh: Kyrsten Breazeale
Eagle: One person on campus who knows you better than anyone else?
Ashleigh: Emily Kirchner
Eagle: Best thing to eat in the caf when you’re not hungry for anything?
Ashleigh: You take a grill slip, ask for a grilled cheese (extra cheese, obviously. Hopefully it’s the good cheese). You go to the side where the rotisserie chicken is and you get as much of that green sauce as you can find and you put it on, and maybe you put some turkey, some onions, some lettuce … you get yourself a glass of milk and then Go. To. Town. Unless you don’t like spicy things. Then cereal. Coco Puffs is really all you can do.
Eagle: Super power?
Eagle: Celebrity Crush?
Ashleigh: Does it have to be a man?? I feel like people expect this: Beyoncé.
Eagle: Where do you get your fantastic facial expressions? Do you practice? Are they divinely inspired?
Ashleigh: Inspired for sure. Definitely the Holy Spirit. Unless they’re rude, and then, I don’t know. I watch a lot of movies … Jennifer Lawrence … Emma Stone … Facial expressions are my game. I don’t practice them, but I realize they are out of control. I rarely know what my face is doing until after when someone tells me.
Eagle: Favorite Word?
Ashleigh: *clears throat* Defenestration. The definition is ‘to throw out of a window.’
Eagle: In a sentence?
Ashleigh: The cantaloupe defenestration of 2013 is complete. Chloe Canfield once gave me a cantaloupe to defenestrate out of a window and it was adorable because that’s one of my lifelong dreams.
Eagle: Hogwarts House?
Eagle: Life theme song?
Ashleigh: “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates. I’ve mostly pictured a little animated blue bird on my shoulder when I’m singing it.
Eagle: So, after OKWU?
Ashleigh: *panic eyes* Is it hot in here?
Well, my degree is to be a teacher, that’s the end goal, I think. I’ve thought about a lot of different options. I’ve thought about going straight to teach, I’ve thought about staying here and getting my Masters, so it just depends on how everything pans out. I am really passionate about missions as well. I spent two summers in Turkey, so that’s something that’s on my heart — the possibility of teaching even overseas some day. Honestly, I don’t know what God will do with that.
Whatever path she takes, we’re pretty sure it’s going to be outrageous.
*shmunshmejious: (adj.) A term coined by Alex Vieux, meaning “of or related to humorous facial expressions”
All photos courtesy of Ashleigh Johnson.