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megan vander wall
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Megan Vander Wall

Graduation year: 2014

Major: Religion

Activities: Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Young Life, Augustana Choir, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society

Post-grad plans: Attend graduate school to pursue a master’s in clinical mental health counseling 

Why did you choose to attend Augustana?

I chose to attend Augustana because it was the only school that felt like home. Even though it sounds cliché, the first time I set foot on the Augustana campus and peered down 7th Avenue toward Old Main, I just knew. I knew that Augustana was where I belonged.

Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago? 

Four years ago, I didn’t know where I would be when I graduated from Augustana. I didn't know what I wanted to study or the career I wanted to pursue. If someone had told me that I would graduate with a degree in religion, I would have told them they were crazy. But I don’t regret my decisions or the way my life has unfolded in the past four years. I am majoring in a subject that I love and will be continuing my education to pursue the career of my dreams.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I would not be where I am today without the help of my family and friends who have always been supportive of my dreams. I owe a special thanks to the professors of the religion department; without them, I would not have realized my passion for religious study in an academic setting. Similarly, the staff in the Community Engagement Center helped me realize my strengths, decide my major, realize my future career plans and decide where I wanted to further my education. To them, I owe my future.

A peak experience?

During spring break of my sophomore year, I traveled to Germany with the Augustana Choir. While in Germany, I was blessed to be able to perform Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem alongside students and faculty from the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany. While it may have been difficult to communicate with the Germans due to the language barrier, there was something beautiful about singers from around the world coming together to speak the same language, the language of music.

What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you? 

I have learned that with a little confidence, a lot of hard work and the help of caring mentors, success is never farther than just around the corner.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used Augie Choice to fund my internship this past summer at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. While at the medical center, I was fortunate enough to be able to work with the Chaplaincy Department at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, working with experienced chaplains and conducting research on the misconceptions of chaplaincy.

What will you miss the most?

Augustana is my home. And while it will always be my home, I will miss living in a place where I can see my friends on my way to class, walk down the slough path in the middle of autumn, sing in a choir with my best friends, stare at the enormity and beauty of Old Main at night, and simply be a part of the Augustana community.

Advice for the Class of 2018?

Be yourself. Never think that being yourself is something to be ashamed of. Never feel you have to be someone that you are not. Find your niche and be confident that this is where you belong.

"It has been my privilege to serve as the faculty mentor for Megan’s Senior Inquiry. She addressed the question of when, if at all, it is ethical for counselors to reveal confidential information. She argued that counselors could ethically share confidential information if the lives of others might be at risk, provided that they have been upfront about this policy at the beginning of a counseling relationship. It is a paper that is potentially publishable."

- Dr. Dan Lee, Marian Taft Cannon Professor in the Humanities