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More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Mikaila Levigne

Graduation year: 2020

High school: Carl Sandburg High School

Hometown: Orland Park, Ill.

Majors: Biology/pre-physician assistant, French

Activities: First-year mentor, Sigma Pi Delta sorority

Post-grad plans: Taking a gap year to gain experience and apply to physician assistant graduate programs

Why Augustana?  

I chose Augustana because I knew from the moment I visited that I would be able to make a home here. The campus is filled with students and staff who are always willing to help in any way they can.

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?   

Not only have I exceeded my personal expectations on an academic level, but I have reached a level of personal growth in which I never imagined. My experiences in the classroom, as well as the relationships I've formed, have allowed me to achieve the best version of myself.

Who helped you get to where you are now?    

My family was my biggest motivation in applying to and choosing Augustana. I knew attending Augustana and earning a valuable and expansive education would make them proud.

My roommates pushed me to succeed in every aspect during my four years. They were always there to challenge and support me with classes, jobs and new opportunities.

Lastly, I give a great amount of credit to my advisors for helping me get to where I am today. They not only helped me navigate a new environment, but also inspired me to push myself into learning new ideas and achieving new goals.

Peak experience?  

My peak experience was the first day of my senior year. While it was just an ordinary first day of class, it also came with the realization that my time as an Augustana student was coming to an end. Not only was I proud of myself for making it to that point, but I also began looking forward to life after Augustana with all of my new skills.

What surprised you?   

I was genuinely surprised by the type of relationships I've formed at Augustana. I never thought I'd meet people so similar to me, but still able to push me to think outside of the box and work outside of my comfort zone. These are friends who I know I will have for the rest of my life, and I have Augustana to thank for that.

How did you use your Augie Choice?  

I used my Augie Choice to travel to Dijon, France, for six weeks during the summer going into my junior year. This study abroad program allowed me to gain credits toward my French major and  to improve my French conversational skills by living with a host family.

What will you miss the most?   

Most of all, I will miss the ability to learn new ideas outside of my realm of study. The liberal arts education I've had at Augustana has allowed me to gain interest in more than one area of study, and then learn to connect the two topics for a broader perspective.

Advice for the Class of 2024?    

Take nothing for granted. After the abrupt and unexpected end to the 2019-2020 school year, I hope that future Augie students realize the incredible experience Augustana offers. I have an immense amount of gratitude for this college and all it has given me.

“I first met Mikaila in my 200-level French class, and I have enjoyed watching her grow as a student and an involved member of our Augustana community. Mikaila and I partnered as peer mentor and advisor to groups of incoming first-year students. I requested Mikaila as my peer mentor as she has a calm and reassuring presence, and I know from my advisees that she did an excellent job. I was fortunate to travel with Mikaila and other students to Dijon, France, on our study away program. This was an unforgettable experience with amazing students, making memories to last a lifetime.”

– Gillian Lederman, assistant professor, French