A window inside life at Augustana College

Wait what….I’m a senior?!?!

Fun fact: I’ve actually spent more time living at Augustana than I have living in my current home in Minnesota. Just before I graduated from high school my mother, brother, and I moved from Ham Lake, MN to Watertown, MN. I spent 2.5 months living in Watertown before moving to Augie. After my freshman year I spent the summer living with an old teacher in high school, which meant I was only in Watertown on the weekends. The summer after my sophomore year I stayed at Augustana to work for the summer. Finally, I spent the past summer living in Rock Island again.

Given all the time that I’ve spent in the Quad Cities I have a hard time accepting that by June this will no longer be my home and I will no longer be in school. I won’t be right across the hall or campus from some of the best friends that I’ve made. I won’t have delicious and reasonably priced local goodies right down the street – Watertown has a population of approximately 5,000 so we don’t have many restaurants around us which means I will definitely miss Whitey’s and La Ranch. I won’t have hours long breaks during the day, which could be a negative or a positive. I probably won’t have the luxury of sleeping in until 10am multiple days in a week.

While there are a lot of things I won’t have when this year is over, there are many more things that I will have. I will have the knowledge gained from two majors and one minor. I will have experience in interpersonal relationships, conflict resolution, risk management, and communication. I will have the pride of having completed my degree in less than 4 years. I will have friendships that will cross the country and last forever. I will also have sisters and brothers from COG and APO that span the country and the world. I will have experience with paying bills and rent. I will have memories that will last a lifetime. I will have mentors and professional relationships that will help me advance in whatever path I choose to pursue.

On days when I’m having a hard time dealing with the fact that I am a senior, a leader of the school, the top class, and I want all those things I listed first to stay with me forever, I remind myself of all the positive things I will gain from leaving Augie.

Some of you who are reading this may recognize how I feel right now. Almost every senior that I’ve talked to is at least a little bit in denial about being the oldest on campus. Others may be feeling like this time will never come for you; you’re burdened with work, and homework, and everything else that teens and young adults have going on. However, I can assure you that one day this feeling will come. You will be the big dogs on campus. You will have gained experience in so many types of situations that you can’t even fathom right now. You will be ready to spread your wings.

Nobody has it all together and nobody can have it all

I’ve spent most of the summer trying to figure out where I will be in 6-9 months. I’ve actually spent most of the last 6 months trying to figure that out. I love to plan things. I like to make lists of what I need to do, or buy, or who I need to talk to. So where has all of this planning gotten me? I’m not really sure.

I’d be lying if I told you that I had my life together. Heck, I think that if anyone tells you they have their life together they are lying. Everyone always has something they wish they could change, whether it’s how much money they make or the color of their hair or wanting to change paint the bathroom. I know that you might think, well these are such minor things Victoria; if those are a person’s biggest problems then they must have it figured out.

But here’s why I don’t think that anyone can have it figured out – you never know what the future holds. You can do all the planning possible. You can make budgets. You can map out every decision. You can have lists that go on for days. You can have charts, and ven diagrams, and pros and cons lists. You can have folders full of pamphlets and information. You can do all the research. However, all of that panning can’t account for the future. One day you may wake up to find the roof of your house gone, or to hear that a loved one has passed, or you could go to work and be laid off. None of those plans that you had could have fully accounted for any of those things happening. The future can always throw a kink in your plans, IN YOUR LIFE.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately to accept that I can’t control the future. Or the present. Or the past. I make lists on lists on lists. I have notebooks full of lists and plans and things to be done. However, I can’t always control what’s going to happen. I’ve always been an anxious person. When I was a child and people would ask how old I was my mother and godmother would say “Oh she’s 5, but she’s going on 30.” And it’s true, I’ve always wanted to be older than I was, because I thought that with age you have things figured out. You turn 16 and you have a driver’s license so now you can get places. You turn 18 and you can vote and you’re recognized as a legal adult. You turn 21 and you are old enough to get a hotel room and buy alcohol. You turn 25 and your car insurance rates go down and you can rent a car.

At each step in our lives I saw people as gaining things; independence, freedom, material goods, money. However, what I didn’t see was the struggles that come with these new found gifts. With freedom comes the necessity to learn how to use that. With independence you have to learn to be alone. With material goods you assume the costs that come along with them. With money you have to learn how to use it correctly.

So now that I’m 21, a senior in college with only 2 trimesters left until graduation, I feel like I NEED to have my life figured out. What would 5 year old me think if I told her I didn’t know what was going to happen in my life tomorrow? I’ll tell you what she’d do, she’d probably cry and then retreat to her room, or make a big deal about it – it would really depend on the day. So what have I been doing? I’ve been planning. Making lists. Looking for jobs. Checking qualifications. Calling my mother and crying. Hiding away in my room. Talking to people about what I want. Doing research on salaries. Doing research on certifications. Going to the career center. Because as much as planning can be in vain, I don’t know what else to do. If I don’t have the information now, when am I going to get it?

Long story short is that I’m extremely stressed about the future. In 17 days I start my senior year of college. In 55 days I leave for Brazil. In 198 days I graduate from college. Things are constantly changing. I’m not making near as much money this summer as I anticipated. I’ve changed my potential career path 3 times this summer alone.

Where are they today?

Hi everyone! It’s been over a month since I graduated, does that mean I am no longer fit to write this blog? I hope not!!

My life is still in transition since graduation, I moved back home for the time being, and trust me, fitting 4-years of stuff back into one storage room was exhausting! Not to mention that my parents had already begun to take over my bedroom, so rearranging furniture and moving my parents possessions out was a task in itself

I’ve been working at Santa’s Village for about a month now, and I must say I really enjoy it. It doesn’t feel like a job, but that I just get to hang out with cool animals and people all day while my bank account magically grows. It’s not the end stop of my journey by any means, but I’m enjoying the ride and learning a lot.


And I get to take some awesome selfies in my downtime. For all my past experiences, I have worked behind-the-scenes, and now I get to see how it feels working one-on-one with the guests- a totally new perspective.

I’m still shopping around for careers for the future/at the end of  the amusement park season, as are most of the people I’m working with. It’s awesome to work with people my age who have just finished or are finishing their education. We swap stories of what we’ve done in the past, and where we want to work in the future. In fact, I have an interview tomorrow for what seems like a dream job, so I’m hoping I won’t have to frantically find another job once the park is closed for the season. Here goes nothing!





On a more personal note: Kevin and I are doing great (no surprise there) and so is our new dog, Chula- whom we adopted from our wonderful OZO neighbor! ;)

Wherever the road may take us, we’re a family now, and we stick by each other through  it all. Adult life may be a bit scary, but it has definitely been one fun adventure so far!


Beauty in the Darkness

Beauty in the Darkness

This week I have been reminded what life is really about. I’ve also been thinking a lot about what I want to get for my next tattoo, a lotus flower, which is far down the road, but it’s always nice to dream! Anyways this post connects those two things; what life is about and lotus flowers.


As we near the end of both the term and the school year at Augustana, you would be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t at least a little bit stressed out. Everyone has their mind on final papers, final exams, packing to go home for the summer, figuring out summer employment, and a whole slew of other things that arise at the end of the school year and term. Honestly, the end of the school year is usually pretty ugly; there are not a lot of smiles and there are tears (okay, maybe a lot of tears on my part). However, there are also good things. People are happy to go home for the summer and see their “home” friends. People are happy to have jobs for the summer. People are happy to finally be done with classes, especially when some of us have friends who have been done for weeks.

For me, this term has been rough. I’ve been continuing work on both my Political Science and my Sociology Senior Inquiries. I’ve been homesick, missing my little niece and nephews who seem to grow inches in the few short months that I’m gone. I’ve been sick and injured for most of the last 3 weeks. Despite all of this “bad” stuff, I was able to find beauty in it and rise above the circumstances. I have received an “A” on my sociology SI. I’ve successfully finished my junior year of college and made the Dean’s List two terms in a row.

As I mentioned in this post , my Uncle Phil was diagnosed with terminal leukemia in January. I dedicated my Relay walk of 15 miles and a fundraising goal of $500 to Phil. I am so happy that he was able to know that I reached my goal. However, I am saddened to say that my Uncle Phil passed away this past week. While he was in Florida, visiting his parents, he became sick and his body was overcome with sickness that he was able to fight against. But, as this post goes, there is beauty in the darkness and while mourning the loss of Phil I am able to celebrate the birth of a new cousin this week. Well actually a first cousin once removed, as my cousin Justin and his wife had another baby this week! She is absolutely beautiful, and I can’t wait to meet her once I go home in a couple of weeks.

Overall, this year, but especially this term, has taught me to look past the bad that is happening now to see the good that will happen soon.

PS – Some of you may recognize the content of this post as it was based on a Facebook status that I posted earlier in the week.

A reflection on my Augustana internship experience

If you have been on the Campusnet webpage at all this term chances are that you’ve seen the link for a few of my blogs. While I wish I could say that I blog this frequently for pure enjoyment, that would be a complete lie. For the academic portion of my six-credit internship in the sports information office one of my assignments was to complete 30 blogs during the experience. This happens to be blog number 30, but probably not the last.

Another assignment was to conduct phone interviews with three different sports information directors to build my network and gain some different perspectives to the field. Originally I shied away from this requirement, however after those three interviews I wish I would have had a chance to conduct even more! Learning about how SIDs got into their careers is extremely fascinating because very few actually planned to be an SID from the beginning.

A really useful assignment that I completed without reference in my blog was my job packet. I had to prepare all of the materials that I would send to apply for an internship and turn them in to ensure that I was ready for the process.

I think in order to improve an internship similar to mine for the next student a couple alterations could be made. Like I mentioned earlier, the SID interviews were really fun and helpful and I would suggest making an interview due every other week to both encourage the student to keep up with the work and gain a larger network. I would also encourage the addition of an assignment along the lines of creating game notes for a few events, a task that I completed for the first time in preparation for the women’s lacrosse game against Salisbury this weekend (http://www.suseagulls.com/sports/wlax/2013-14/releases/copy_of_201405108hjqdo).

In the end, I received academic credit towards graduation for interning in the sports information office at Augustana. This experience was absolutely amazing and my only regret is that I did not start working in the office until my sophomore year.

That looks cool!


Everyone loves new uniforms, especially really cool ones! But sometimes those “cool uniforms” are impossible to read from further than 10 feet away…let alone in a press box.  Here are a few examples of jerseys that sports information departments hate! The worst part is, Augustana is guilty of having hard to read jerseys as well. Our men’s soccer team has white jerseys with yellow numbers and dark horizontal stripes. Using a darker version of the same color is a nightmare for any stat keepers. Thank goodness for binoculars, otherwise the stats for these teams would be all jumbled due to not being able to read the jerseys!  If you ever have the chance to design an athletic uniform, keep the people doing stats for the team in mind!

For the record, the Augustana basketball jersey that is hard to read belongs to the South Dakota Augustana.




bad jersey 3 bad jersey 4 bad jersey 1 bad jersey 2 bad jersey 5

An interview with Dave Hilbert of the University of St. Francis

The third interview that I conducted for my internship at Augustana was with Dave Hilbert of the University of St. Francis located in Joliet, Illinois. With USF being an NAIA competitor, Mr. Hilbert offered a different perspective of sports information, especially considering his background at each different level during his career.


Dave Hilbert – University of St. Francis (Joliet) – NAIA


Q: How did you get into sports information?

“I went to Michigan Tech. I was starting my senior year and we needed to do some sort of an internship to complete my degree. Since it was a pretty small town most of the internships were done through the campus departments. I had no idea what to do so I went to my advisor and he said that they had just hired a new sports information director and he had passed along that he was looking for someone to work with him. As a freshman I had worked doing statistics in the SID office so I went over there and started working for him. He was almost brand new and he needed someone to come over there who was able to do some real work right away so he turned over a lot of assignments to me. I did a lot of feature writing and game summaries and by halfway through that internship I decided that I want to do this for a living.”


Q: What did you do after your undergrad?

“I went to graduate school at Saint Thomas University in Miami. It was a pretty small school but they had a sports administration program and there wasn’t a whole lot of those programs around. One of the best parts of that program there was just being in Miami there was so much around and so many opportunities to work. I was lucky enough to get an internship at Florida Atlantic University. They hired a new SID whose main job was marketing and sales so they wanted someone to come in to do day-to-day SID work. At the end of that internship the guy that was the SID left so I ended up being the replacement.”


Q: In your office at St. Francis, do you employ a lot of student workers?

“Yeah, we have really just two that work primarily in statistics and game management.”


Q: How many hours do the student workers average each week?

“On average, probably 8-10. Then again some weeks we don’t have games and some weeks we have 5 so on average probably somewhere in that range.”


Q: How many hours would you say that you work a week?

“Somewhere in the 60-70 range. During the summer it’s more like 40 but you make up for it. I think that’s pretty comparable for just about anybody in this business.”


Q: What do you like most about sports information and doing what you do?

“There are a couple of things. One, from a professional standpoint, you almost never have two days that are the same. And definitely no two years are the same. With the changing in technology from one year to the next you never know. Neither of us know what new technology is out there that we are going to have to learn, which in a way is a challenge but it is also a lot of fun. It makes the job a lot more interesting. And more from a personal standpoint, it is fun to be on a college campus everyday. It helps to keep you young. It’s fun to be in the campus setting and get to know and be around the kids.”

An interview with Jim McGrath of Butler

The second interview I conducted was with Jim McGrath of Butler University, formerly our own Augustana College. Mr. McGrath offered a unique perspective having started at Augustana, a Division III institution, and then moving to Butler, a Division I school.


Jim McGrath – Butler University – Division I


Q: How did you get into sports information?

“It was really kind of a round about way. I was actually planning on going onto law school when I was at Augustana. I worked in the sports information office during my last two years as a student and Augie didn’t have a full-time SID at the time, so as students we really did the sports information work. During my senior year I unfortunately got a low draft number and was drafted which meant any career plans I had hoped for, I had to put on hold. Fortunate for me, during the summer right after I got my draft notice and went through my physical and got my orders to report President Nixon halted the call-up and I was put into a holding group and if things would have escalated I would have been in the first group called but I was kind of back on a career track. I hadn’t made any plans to go to law school so I was trying to refigure what I was going to do.  Just about that time the Augustana athletic director called me and said they wanted to make a full-time sports information position and would I be interested. And so I became Augie’s first full-time SID and I did that for 10 years before I turned the reins over to Dave Wrath and came to Butler University.”


Q: What do you see as the biggest differences between Augustana and Butler?

“That would be the level on competition and the notoriety and recognition that goes along with it. Certainly the athletes at Augie worked every bit as hard and had every bit as much success and were terrific people to be around. But being in Division III that Augie was when I left, they were NAIA when I started there, there just isn’t as much national media demand. When I came to Butler, moving up to Division I and then as we progressed from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 and now to the Big East the amount of media attention just grew exponentially. “


Q: In your office do you employ many student workers?

“We do, we actually use student interns that we get from our journalism school and college of business. They’ll work a semester as an intern. This past year we had four working for us. Some of them have gone on to work into sports information which has been nice. And in fact, some of them I have even hired as assistants here. “


Q: How many hours do the student interns work each week?

“We ask that they can commit 10 hours a week. It usually ends up being twice that much with the covering of events. They’ll be in the office maybe 10 hours a week and then they’ll put in another 10 hours working various athletic events that we host.”


Q: How many hours do you put in on average per week?

“Probably close to 70. “


Q: What do you like most about sports information?

“I like the variety of the job. How it changes day to day. One of the things I’ve told people is that you can come into the office with a to-do list of things that you plan on getting done on that particular day and one phone call can change all of that. You’ve got to be prepared to change on the fly and turn your attention to another task and still be able to get that first one done. I think the constant activity and variety day to day keeps you young and motivated.”


This interview was part of the academic portion of my internship in the Augustana sports information office. A third interview will soon follow.

An interview with Dave Blanchard of Luther College

I had the chance to talk to the sports information director, Dave Blanchard, of Luther College. It was a great chance to see how the Augustana office compares to another Division III institution.


Dave Blanchard – Luther – Division III


Q: Why did you want to be an SID and how did you get into it?

“That was strictly accidental. I started coaching men’s basketball at Bethel University (Minn.) where I graduated from college. As I got into the coaching more and as Division III schools do they started piece-mealing things together to get on at a decent full-time so first I was an equipment room manager then head golf coach, then they tossed the sports information thing at me because no one else really wanted to do it. So I just ended up learning it from the ground up.”


Q: Do you have any regrets?

“No, it’s been a good way to make a living. You get to watch athletics. Things have really changed…10 years ago before the internet and websites broke loose the time commitment was drastically different than it is today in the instantaneous world that we live in. To be honest with you, if it would have been like it is today, it would have been harder to sell your soul, especially when you are raising a family. It was a lot easier raising a family in this position than it was coaching because you were always on the road. That’s one thing that I do not regret because I was able to be home and help with the family and get to my kids’ events.”


Q: How many hours would you say that you put in a week?

“It depends on the time of year. In the fall it is a heavy load in the one man shop, plus the transition into winter. On an average I’m guessing that I have to be working somewhere between 60-80 hours a week. It’s seven days a week right now, it never used to be that way but it is now.”


Q: Do you use student workers quite a bit?

“Yes. The school does an excellent job with providing student work opportunities and I use quite a few student workers. That staff has grown drastically, especially now with the video streaming that takes place in our world. So right now I have a student work staff of around 14.”


Q: Do any of your students work office hours with you?

“Yes. There are two things that go on. First, I hire a few athletes that help during their off-season. I do usually have two or three (workers) that keep regular office hours. The most they can work is 10 hours a week and most of our kids are at 6-8 hours. They’ll do stuff like get programs ready and writing releases along with sizing photos for websites. Some of them that want to get into this kind of business, I turn loose and let them go and they are doing things like updating the website, working on bios, and writing game recaps, we use it as a learning experience. “


Q: Do any of your students that work the 6-8 hours a week usually help at events?

“Usually not. I have a group set up to help at events. I have three or four kids trained and I try to do it from when they’re freshman on so I have them for a few years.  If we get in a pinch sometimes the people that work in the office will help at events, but not usually.“


Q: Do you think that you’ve kept up with social media?

“For the most part. We’ve kept up with Facebook and twitter. Those are probably the two that we use the most along with our website. We’ve tried some instagram as well.”


This interview was part of the academic portion of my internship in the Augustana sports information office. A couple more will follow.

Once EDUC340, Always EDUC340

This was a line in my EDUC340 professor’s final “Random Memorandum” for the term. Deborah Bracke teaches EDUC340: Methods of Inclusion, a class required by all Education majors, and the Random Memorandum is her weekly email containing any stray thoughts about our week’s progress.

As we come to the end of the term (and the year!), I’ve done some serious reflecting on my career as a teacher candidate as well as the amount of growing I’ve done in just the past year.

At the beginning of the year, I was a scared little baby walking into my first day of EDUC300. I had been told that EDUC300 was the “weed out” class of the Education major, and that was proven to me as I progressed through the course material. Randy truly challenged all of us to step outside of our box of assumptions and discover what it really means to be a teacher.

EDUC330 came next, where I learned about the power of assessment. Assessment is far more than just multiple-choice questions, short answer items, and a book report here and there. Assessment is a constant process that teachers go through every day, and I’ve learned how to craft meaningful assessments for many different kinds of students. Dr. Scarlett’s first term at Augustana proved to be a great success, and I’m so thankful to have had him for a professor.

Now, I’m approaching the end of my sophomore year and the end of EDUC340. Dr. Bracke (or Deb, as I call her) was my first year advisor. The first time I actually met with her was when my mom and I were exchanging tearful hugs at the opening convocation during Fall Connection! Little did I know, I would come to the end of this year having developed a fantastic relationship with Deb. She has helped me through my first clinical experience, deciphering IEPs, and even submit my first paper to a national education conference. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would have the guts to submit a paper to a national conference full of veteran teachers, but she helped me find the courage to do so. Now we’re crossing our fingers, waiting until September to find out if we get to travel to San Diego for the 2015 annual conference of the Council for Exceptional Children!

The amount of growing that I’ve done in the past year is just astounding to me. I came to Augustana to become a teacher, knowing how spectacular the Education department was. However, I didn’t know just how brilliant every member of the department truly was. So many of them have helped me in just these two first years, and I can’t wait to see what the second half of my undergrad career has in store for me.