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sarah durocher
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Sarah DuRocher

Graduation year: 2014

Majors: Religion, political science 

Activities: Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Interfaith Understanding, Jenny Lind Women’s Choral Ensemble

Post-grad plans: Graduate school to attain a master’s in the social justice field and/or religious studies

Why did you choose to attend Augustana?

I was greeted by such interesting and welcoming people the first time I walked onto campus. Not only was the campus gorgeous during my tour (it was fall, of course), but every person I met seemed genuine, and the professors I met seemed open-minded and challenging. That, in addition to the great things I had heard about the political science department, drew me in. 

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

When I arrived as a first-year, I had no idea what I was looking for in a college, and I have come so far in terms of my love of education (especially in my two fields) that I can’t even imagine where I was academically, or even emotionally. I came because of the great opportunities I thought I would have but that was only an abstract thought in comparison to how my life would actually change. 

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I was fortunate enough to build lasting relationships with some of Augie’s most profound professors. The religion and political science departments in general were incredible places for support. My professors challenged and motivated me, while the friends I made would be the cornerstone for my adventures and individual growth.

A peak experience?

On campus, I think I would have to say my peak experience was my Senior Inquiry project. From researching to writing and presenting it, I found myself so engaged and inspired that it was hard to conclude the project. It was a project that I could claim as my own as I found my voice in the topic of Shari’a law in Nigeria. I think it is extremely important for seniors to have something that they work on for an extended period of time that they can truly say is a reflection of their ability. As strange as it sounds for someone to be excited about work, this project in particular was a culmination of my time at Augustana and my love of my areas of study.

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

I honestly found surprises every day, but personally I found my love of education — for the sake of education — to grow unlike it had ever had before. I consistently find myself connecting ways that a liberal arts education prepared me for so much more than a career or further study. I never thought that I would like change or like to be challenged, but this well-rounded foundation for life opened within me a thirst for adventure that can never be quenched.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie choice for Ghana term my junior year. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. With 21 other students, I traveled to one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to. We studied and interned at various service organizations around the city of Accra and engaged with those around us at work and at our home stays. This experience will remain with me for the rest of my life and added to the desire I have to see the world and learn from it.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the continual opportunity for engaging with students with such intriguing perspectives and backgrounds. The community I was able to form was comprised of some of the most intelligent and kind people I have ever met, and many of the friendships I formed will stay with me forever.

Advice for the Class of 2018?

Take opportunities to go abroad! GO!! Whether it’s somewhere completely new like Ghana was for me or you stick to a place you have been before, take the chance to explore the world. You will learn about culture, people and yourself in ways you never imagined. You will hear it over and over again — for good reason. It will change your life forever.

"Sarah was a global citizen even before she traveled to Ghana during her junior year. Once she returned, she immediately wanted to go back. And not just to travel there, but to help those in need in the country. In her worldview and actions, Sarah epitomizes what we want to instill in our students."

- Dr. Mariano Magalhães, professor, political science