A window inside life at Augustana College

A reflection towards the end of freshman year

I initially heard of Augustana from my friend, Lydia. She is an alumni and a very respectable woman. We first met when she directed the 2008 Young Leadership Conference, a program put on by the National Hispanic Institute for Latino youth to develop effective communication skills through debate. I didn’t stand out much in the program, though she still remembered my name out of 60 or more other participants. The following year, I volunteered to staff at the same program as a junior coach. Seeing the YLC from a staff member’s point of view, I realized that the people facilitating the event weren’t always professional or as intimidating as I saw them the previous year as well as Lydia’s responsibility for it all. She met with the high school counselors, brought together the head coaches for each debate team, reorganized the itinerary when the schedule went off course, sorted out the paperwork and still managed to meet the participants.

I gained the utmost respect for her dedication to NHI and its mission. If there was only one other thing she was proud to represent other than NHI, it was Augustana. She graduated in 2005 and still does what she can for the board of trustees while living in California. When she first told me about where she went to college and did so with such enthusiasm, I figured it was worth considering for my own education.

I looked into it and immediately loved the feeling of the environment. It was friendly, encouraging and I couldn’t imagine that I’d be happier anywhere else. Of course the academic value was important, but that was expected regardless of the feeling. Once I enrolled, the enthusiasm didn’t fade. Granted, some things are far less than perfect, but they’re not nearly bad enough to consider transferring. The community still seems welcoming; the idea of studying English is still appealing; I haven’t been threatened with academic probation yet. For all that it matters right now, life is good.

Most of what I want to accomplish with my time here is to leave something behind. If I leave with a three point something grade point average and a couple of club memberships under my belt, it still won’t feel like enough. I want to leave with a Bachelor of Arts certification and wondering where four years disappeared, only to remember that they became fond memories and more than whatever will end up on a resume. As of right now, I don’t have anything specific in mind; maybe an internship or chance to study abroad in communication or publication are somewhere in the future, but nothing is certain. By June of 2015, I want to have held leadership positions in co-curricular activities and have the knowledge to effortlessly converse in a way that I could only imagine with my less fortunate parents. They never had the opportunities I have and only want what’s best for me. In the end, I just want to show that their support won’t be in vain.

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