Terryl Ashli Boxley graduated from the University of Tulsa in May of 2022 with a B.A. in Chinese Studies and minors in Law and in Marketing. In August of 2022, she started working at the Department of State and enrolled full-time at the Elliott School. At the Elliott School, Ashli’s concentration is China/Taiwan with the professional specialization of International Development, and she hopes to be able to focus on improve her Mandarin language abilities while enrolled. Following her graduation from Elliott School in May of 2024, she plans to go to law school with a focus on International Law.
What path led you to apply to graduate school? Why did you choose the Elliott School?
There are several factors that led me to apply to the Elliott School. Part of my choice to go to graduate school is based on the fact that I felt like I needed more time to decide exactly what I wanted to do, although I was pretty certain that the Elliott School would provide me opportunities in the field that I am interested in. I wanted the opportunity to specifically study topics and areas that I am interested in but did not have the ability to focus on in undergrad. I also choose the Elliott School for location and opportunity purposes. I think it is a very different living style than what I am used to, so I am able to grow and learn a lot here.
Where do you currently work, intern or volunteer, and how does it fit in with your career goals?
Currently I am a contractor working with the Department of State (DOS). I think considering my career goals are foreign affairs adjacent working for DOS has provided me an opportunity to learn aspects of how this governmental body works. I am learning how interconnected a lot of departments are and how the work that people like me do has an impact on more well-known people that work for DOS so it is definitely and interesting position. Working while being in school has also played a part in helping me narrow down potential fields that I want to work in after graduating. Also, it provides me with opportunities to make connections and hear about the experiences, specifically in governmental work, from a variety of people that have years of experience.
What tools/strategies have proved most helpful in making the most of your time at the Elliott School?
Honestly, I still have a lot of work to do in order to get the most out of graduate school, but I am working on this part. Coming to graduate school immediately after finishing undergrad has definitely been an adjustment with working full time and moving across the country. Also, the format that the classes work is pretty different compared to what I am accustomed to, but it is a refreshing challenge. I think time management and organization are extremely important and they are skills that I am constantly improving upon. It is also not just school that is important but the connections that can be made in the unique environment that surrounds you. Being stationed in Washington D.C. really is something that can help people achieve their goals during and after their time at Elliott School. Another strategy that I know will be beneficial but that I struggle with is taking time for myself.
What advice do you have for students for staying motivated at work or in class?
If you have an end goal, try to always remember what you are working towards and that every little step takes you a bit closer to what you want to achieve. I think it is important to do your best at everything that you are working on whether it be in a work capacity or school-wise and as long as you know that you tried your hardest the result really isn’t the most important part. Also, before making the decision to come to graduate school take time and think about what it is that you are hoping to gain after getting your degree. Also try not to lose sight of yourself and that fact that your life cannot only consist of work and/or school if you want to maintain a healthy balance.
What has been your most memorable experience while studying at the Elliott School?
I would classify it as more of a series of experiences but something that I always find inspiring is that I feel like other than at the Elliott School I have never been around people that are so passionate and knowledgeable about what they are studying and teaching. I think as I am only a first-year student, although time is going by fast, there are still a lot of things that I have yet to experience at the Elliott School and I am excited for what the next year holds.
What is one book you think everyone should read and why?
The Princess Bride. It is just really humorous and wholesome, and it has a really good movie to go along with it.
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The #WeAreElliott profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current students to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at email@example.com.
The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.