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More Than I Imagined 2014

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Alexandria's activities: SAGA Art & Literary Magazine, Zeta Phi Kappa sorority

Alexandria Petrassi

“I love teaching poetry because students like Alli Petrassi come along sometimes and turn in work that sits me back in my chair in awe. Then they keep doing it, as Alli has, in class, in directed studies, as summer writing interns and editors-in-chief of SAGA, as national poetry month instructors in local schools, lit with sight that makes the world new. They give us these moments (from Alli’s poem “Structural Devotion”):

   When I walk, I whisper ilium to you like a
   threadbare love letter. When we sleep,
   my skeleton is folded like a prayer."

— Rebecca Wee, professor,
English and creative writing

Alexandria Petrassi

Majors: English–writing emphasis and creative writing
Minor: Spanish

Internship: Summer internship in London with Cutting Edge Press, a small, independent publishing house that specializes in fiction and nonfiction with an edge.

Post-grad plans: I’ve been accepted into the University of Chicago’s program for a Professional Editing Certificate. Eventually I hope to get my MFA and pursue working on a literary magazine and/or as an assistant professor.

Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
It felt like home. It's never stopped feeling like a home away from home, even after four years. And I know it'll feel like a homecoming whenever I visit as an alumna.

Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
Gosh, no! If you had asked me as a first-year if I'd be an editor-in-chief for SAGA and a leader in my sorority, I'd have told you you were crazy. Add the fact that I'm pursuing a career in English and creative writing, and that it's starting to materialize into reality, and you've got the brightest dream I could have ever dreamed up for myself four years ago.

Who helped you get to where you are now?
Professor Rebecca Wee hands down has been my biggest inspiration. Without her, I would never have found the courage to stand up and pursue my passions. She has given me direction when I had none, encouragement when I thought about giving up, and honesty when I needed to hear the truth. She has truly pushed me to be a fearless person when it comes to writing and my career path.

A peak experience?
The entire time I have been co-editor-in-chief of SAGA has been a peak experience. I have learned things about myself I never knew, and have realized that I have what it takes to be a leader and blend tradition with new ideas. SAGA has been a passion of mine over these four years, and to have the chance to make a difference... well, it's been a wild ride, and I can honestly say it has brought out more good in me than I have space to write about.

What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
I came into Augustana as a very confused person. I wasn't sure what I actually cared about, who I was or what I was doing here beyond the fact that it felt right. I was pretty down on myself, to be honest. I'm a wildly different person now, and I've learned through the years that I have the determination, intelligence and passion to make a difference, no matter how small it may seem. I know I have the fortitude to see my passions through.

How did you use your Augie Choice?
I used my Augie Choice money to get to London the summer of 2013. Augustana goes through this great program called CAPA International Education to get students internships and classes for credit. It was a total blast, and I can honestly say that I became a more responsible, future-oriented and confident person coming into my senior year.

What will you miss the most?
I will miss my professors, SAGA, the unlimited opportunity and possibility that comes with living on a college campus, the fantastic women in my sorority, and of course, Old Main at night.

Advice for the Class of 2018?
Trust yourself. You're stronger, better and smarter than you think you are. You'll find the right people if you branch out and explore. Give yourself the chance to grow. Even the bad experiences have something for you to learn.