Skip to main content
Jaren Smith
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Jaren Smith

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Joliet Central High School

Hometown: Joliet, Ill.

Majors: Multimedia journalism and mass communication; communication studies

Minor: Creative writing

Activities: Augustana Observer student newspaper

Internship: KWQC TV6 in Davenport, Iowa

Post-grad plans: I’ve been applying for jobs in the Quad-Cities area and in Joliet. I’m not 100% sure on what my plans are after graduation. I hope to find something that can utilize what I’ve learned with either of my majors. Ideally I would love to find a job in sports.

Why Augustana?

I felt it was the best place for me to grow as a person. I feel as if I learned a lot academically and about myself as a person. The students here are a very welcoming community, and I felt welcomed from the moment I stepped on campus.

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

I came to Augustana not knowing a single person here. After four years, I’ve made many lifelong friends, which helped form me into who I am now. I never thought I would always be on the move, but I appreciate that I had a busy four years. I did my best on every assignment — no matter the assignment. I can smile knowing I did my best I could in every situation I was in.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

The people who have helped me get to where I am now are my professors and my family and friends. My professors put me in positions to succeed, helping me at every possible turn and giving me amazing feedback. My family and friends have been there for me when I needed them, helping me every step of the way.

Peak experience?

My peak experience was being able to intern at KWQC TV6. As an intern, I learned so much about the news industry from being on TV to working behind the scenes. Telling someone else’s story requires a lot of attention to detail. The people I’ve interviewed — I was in their life for a short amount of time. But during that time, I poured my heart into my work, and I feel like I captured their stories.

What surprised you?

Something that surprised me was the amount of activities and clubs here. There's only so many hours in the day, but there’s always something going on, which is amazing. The chance to make a new friend is always available to you.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the connections that I’ve made. I will miss catching up with those I pass when walking around campus. Augustana students look out for each other, and I will always appreciate those who took the time to check in on me to make sure I was okay.

Advice for the Class of 2028?

Find and make the time to take care of yourself. Being a student and being involved in extracurriculars take up so much time. But where’s the time for ourselves? Find and make that time for yourself to be able to enjoy the college experience to its fullest.

"I’ve taught Jaren in several courses, and I can never remember him — not once — not being engaged.  He is who you want every student to be: hard-working, curious, talented, present, vocal and ambitious. You want to be the best teacher for Jaren because of how badly he wants to learn. Through jobs and internships, he’s already putting the same effort into his craft as he has into his learning. I can’t wait to see how far he goes."

– Dr. David Schwartz, associate professor, multimedia journalism and mass communication