What to expect your first year at Augustana

Brett Kuras
Brett Kuras
July 27, 2023

A new environment can bring new challenges, but also positive experiences. Here are some things I wish I knew before I came to Augustana College, and how you can prepare yourself before you arrive. 

You get out what you put in.

Augustana has more opportunities than most know what to do with. At the activities fair my first year, I remember feeling overwhelmed with everything offered and all the people I spoke with. 

In fact, Augustana has about 160 student groups so surely you will find one (or four) that is right for you. I did.

You will confront new ways of thinking.

You’re coming to a place with a diverse and vibrant community. Be prepared to learn about new cultures, opinions and perspectives. Keep an open mind to others’ experiences and show care when learning new things. An open and accepting mindset is key to thriving at Augustana. You’ll also learn more about yourself along the way.

You will get homesick.

It’s natural to get homesick when you say goodbye to your family. There may be tears and you might feel nervous or a bit alone, but  remember: everyone is experiencing the same feelings as you, usually behind closed doors. 

For some, it lasts a day, a week or longer, but no matter where you are on that scale, missing home is nothing to be ashamed of. Make sure to frequently call your parents, friends and relatives to stay connected with them, and talk through your feelings. Community Advisors (CAs) are here to help you as well.

You’ll quickly become a lot more independent. 

From day one, you’ll be in charge of your schedule. You get to choose when you eat, do homework, hang out with friends, sleep, etc. Some love this sense of freedom but  others not so much. But don’t worry! You don’t have to be completely independent on your first day. Ease yourself into it, get a routine down, and you’ll slowly become more independent.

You’ll learn how to budget.

Saving money in college is a crucial skill that not only helps ensure financial stability during your academic years but also your future. Do your best to create a budget that fits your needs. One piece of advice is to eat in the dining hall and limit the amount you spend on DoorDash. 

I blew through an unnecessary amount of money my first year on clothes, food or extra decorations for my room. Examine what you already have before making a purchase, and I bet you’ll save a ton more than I did.  

While some of these suggestions may apply to you more than others, it’s important to remember that experiencing new things and feelings can be scary. Learning to overcome them and allowing yourself to fall and get back up is the key to a successful college experience. 

Make sure to soak it all in because time at Augustana goes by so quickly.


Brett Kuras
Brett Kuras

Brett is a senior from Batavia, Ill., majoring in political science and multimedia journalism and mass communication.