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Alyssa Tillery

Hometown: South Beloit, Illinois

Major: Biology (Pre-med) and Spanish

Plans after graduation

Though my plans aren't set in stone, I do have many aspirations for my post-Augustana life. I intend on eventually pursuing medical school but I personally feel that "real-world" experience would supplement my education and make it even more fulfilling. I aspire to be a part of something that is bigger than me and my immediate education; for that reason, a few options have come to mind. I'm currently pursuing a job with a Wisconsin-based company that creates electronic applications for health care systems across the United States. A few other options center on internships or programs wherein I can help a community health care operation, preferably in Spanish-speaking communities.

How did Augustana prepare you for life after college?

It's easy for me to say that Augustana has more than equipped me for the future in terms of being prepared for medical school, performing at high standards in a professional job, or remaining dedicated to whatever work I do at any given time. This is a mission of Augustana's. However, I believe that this school has best prepared me in a manner that transcends academia: I have learned how to interact with people on a number of levels and have discovered that interpersonal communication and relationships are fundamental to success. As my favorite professor has taught me, "Half the time it doesn't matter what you say to people, but how you say it."

What are you looking forward to about life after graduation?

I'm excited to see where life takes me, to be honest! I have acquired a unique skills set while at Augustana and I'm looking forward to using it throughout my journey after graduation. Not having set plans as I prepare to graduate makes me both nervous and eager; I've never been in such a place of uncertainty as far as my future is concerned, but I'm glad to be exploring options.

What will you miss about Augustana?

Hands down, I will miss the camaraderie between students, the tight-knit relationships I have formed with my professors, and the easy opportunity to meet so many different types of people and make friends with these people. It's true that the resources are endless at Augustana-from information and internships to research and technology-but I would argue that the most valuable resource at Augustana is the people.

What was your favorite memory from Augie?

While there are a lot of fond memories I have of my Augustana experience, my mind is currently drawn to recent memories that have occurred in the past year or so. I've had the same professor for a few of my biology classes, and I can easily say that this teacher is one of the best friends I have made here. There was a period of time when he was swamped with editing new editions of his books, finishing classes, and also trying to stay healthy, so he became a little distant from us and unknowingly kept more to himself. Two friends of mine and I coordinated schedules and held what we deemed "an intervention." Within minutes of us telling him how distant he had become and demanding answers, he had his coat on and was shuffling us out the door to take us to Blue Cat (a local bar in the district) for an afternoon beer and some food. Not only did he pay, but he apologized for unintentionally being distant and thanked us for calling him out. It was the best intervention I've ever had.

What advice would you give to current students?

I have a couple words of advice for students: first, learn that while it's important to work hard while you're here, it's also just as important to enjoy yourself. Never work yourself down to the bone without making up for it with some fun. Second, always pay it forward. It's inevitable while you're here that someone will do a huge favor for you, be it opening a door of opportunity, writing letters of recommendation, or giving you some really great advice. Remember to always do the same for others whenever you have the opportunity. Giving back what you have received is one of the greatest gifts.