By the book: Missouri S&T senior shares guidance for new college students


As she prepares to graduate from Missouri University of Science and Technology this May, Ashley-Ann Davis has some important advice for next fall’s college freshmen.

“Figure out what’s important to you, and once you figure that out, prioritize it,” says Davis, of Jefferson City, Missouri. “Once you prioritize what matters, you can focus more easily.”

But setting priorities doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Davis, who was born in Jamaica and will graduate in May with a bachelor of science degree in engineering management, has managed to excel as a student while having a good time along the way. And she wrote a book with a title that says it all: Partying With a 4.0: Finding Balance in College.

“I want to live life in its entirety, make memories, and enjoy all the moments, and that’s exactly what I am doing in college,” she writes in the introduction of her book. “It is possible to both party and prioritize school.”

Ashley-Ann Davis shares her college advice in her book Partying With a 4.0: Finding Balance in College. Photo by Michael Pierce/Missouri S&T

For the record, Davis will graduate with a 3.9 GPA, not a 4.0, although she did hold a perfect GPA when she started writing the book.

“I’m kind of happy that it fell,” she says. “It was kind of liberating.”

Her goal in writing Partying With a 4.0 was to help other students find balance between academics and extracurricular activities.

“There are a lot of students here who are super into academics,” she says. “I saw a lot of them getting burned out from studying all the time.”

Davis also saw students who spent more time playing or partying and who struggled with academics. “I saw a lot of people struggling on both sides of the fence,” Davis says. “I thought my book could help people find balance.”

Davis describes Partying With a 4.0 as “a college 101 guide for high school seniors and freshmen just starting college.” The slender book – just over 50 pages – offers succinct tips and guidance to students on time management, setting priorities, establishing goals, self-care and more.

At Missouri S&T, Davis demonstrated her ability to balance studies and social life through a variety of activities. She served as president of S&T’s student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers for two consecutive years, was the student representative to the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on African American Recruitment and Retention, and worked as a student admissions ambassador, leading tours for prospective students and their families. She also conducted research with Dr. Joel Burken, Curators’ Distinguished Professor and chair of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, and held internships with Turner Construction Co.

She will culminate her undergraduate experience as one of four student speakers at Missouri S&T’s commencement ceremonies May 14 and 15. Post-graduation, she plans to continue her trailblazing ways by returning to Missouri S&T this fall as a Ph.D. student in engineering management through the university’s new Kummer Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Doctoral Fellows Program.

“A lifelong goal of mine has always been to become an entrepreneur producing a product that is impactful,” says Davis. “This program allows me to not only do research on impactful topics with the professors I’ve come to love, but also help to develop my entrepreneurial and innovative skills.”

She’ll also continue to work part time with Turner Construction and, staying true to her focus on finding balance in all things, will no doubt continue to find some time for fun.

Partying With a 4.0: Finding Balance in College is available online from Davis and from Amazon.

Cover image of Ashley-Ann Davis’ book.