“Considering the amount of competition there will be after I finish schooling, I want to have as many advantages as possible, and having a higher level of education automatically puts me somewhere near the top,” said Ausha Cole, a 2014 graduate of MSU who is still taking additional classes this semester. She majored in psychology and competed on the Bobcat women’s basketball team during her time as a student.
Cole was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado before moving to Mesa, Arizona in ninth grade. “I was adopted at the age of seven by Linda Cole, my mother, and inherited two wonderful older brothers, Bernard and Aaron, and an older sister April,” she said.
Cole said that coming to MSU, she originally wanted to study architecture, but was encouraged to take on a lighter course load as she committed to also being a student-athlete. Studying psychology was an easy choice, because it is a subject that has always fascinated her. Now with her degree completed, Cole stated that continuing her education is extremely important for several reasons, including the fact that she feels students can only get so far with only a bachelor’s degree in her field.
Most importantly, Cole’s daughter, Kadence, who is now two years old, serves as the ultimate motivation to pursue higher education. “Having a daughter to provide for is all the motivation in the world to be the best person and parent I can be, and to be a good example for her, and give her anything and everything she wants.” She further stated that furthering education is important for everyone, as it helps students grow immensely as human beings, build personal connections with others, and strengthen work ethic.
With her future plans comes new challenges in her endeavor to continue her education in psychology. Her experience at MSU set her up to face these challenges through academics and athletics. “Juggling family, school and basketball was very challenging until I learned how to do two things effectively: prioritize and compartmentalize,” she said, “Prioritizing is pretty self explanatory, Kadence, myself, school and basketball is the order of how I think about things, making sure that the preceding element is taken care of before I proceed to the next.” She also said that compartmentalizing is another element that took her a longer time to grasp, which means focusing on one component at a time in her life.
Keeping these elements in mind, she hopes to eventually become a head coach for a Division I women’s basketball team. She added that being a student-athlete has had a significant impact on her future aspirations, but also established connections and friendships that serve as a stable support system as she creates balance in her life. “This year’s team has definitely been one of the best I’ve ever had the honor of being apart of … I could easily sit here and write you pages of stories about the relationship between me and every other teammate,” she added, “I’m just very thankful to God that I know them all and love them all so dearly.”
Next year she will become a graduate assistant with the basketball team and serve as Director of Basketball Operations at MSU. Further down the road, she plans to apply for head coaching jobs in tropical places, and then eventually make her way back to Montana. “I want to use the research I conduct in my studies to mold my coaching philosophy and to help develop young women into outstanding basketball players and individuals,” she said.
She believes that everyone should further their education because it fuels personal and professional growth, not to mention increasing chances to land a more valuable job upon graduation. Cole’s balance between family, school, and basketball has set her up with the mindset and skills to venture further into the realm of higher education.