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paul landahl
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

​Paul Landahl

Graduation year: 2015

Majors: Mathematics, history

activities: Heywire Improv, Electric Theater Unplugged, Peer Mentor Program, Darwin Club, WAUG

Post-grad plans: I’m moving to Salida, Colo., for 22 weeks to work for the Southwest Conservation Corps. The program works with the Salida Ranger District, a branch of the Forest Service — doing maintenance projects in recreational and wilderness areas. After that I plan on crossing a couple things off my bucket list by traveling to Puerto Rico and working at a dog sled camp in Minnesota during the winter! I have intentions to go to grad school in the fall of 2016.

Why did you choose Augustana?

I wanted a school where I could pursue mathematics or physics but also focus on improving my writing. The flexible liberal arts curriculum gave me that opportunity. Also, Augustana is pretty close to my parents in Brookfield, Ill.

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

Four years ago, I was really hoping to graduate in three years! Although my initial dreams were shattered, I think “freshman me” would be impressed and surprised by all the fun things I’ve done outside of school, the opportunities Augustana has given me, and the drastic improvement of my GPA.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

My family supporting me every way they can: Mom, Dad, Jim, Anthony, Yiayia, Minka and Paka, Titi, Sheila, Kathy, Mary and Grant, Johnny, Nouna and Nouno.

My professors for making Augustana an amazing place to learn: Clauss, Dr. Leech, Dr. Warren, Dr. Smith, Dr. Moline, Dr. Peters, Dr. Bengtson, Dr. Rodman, Dr. Moline, BK, Dr. Kramer, Dr. Calder, Dr. Cleveland, Dr. Zhang, Dr. Fockler, Dr. Heine, Dr. Johnson and Prof. Montover.

And last but not least, my friends who’ve made Augustana an amazing place to live: Alyssa, Krazy Eyes Kyle, Paras, Mike “Inside Peanut Butter, Outside Jelly” Curtis, Tony Too $hort 2vell, Emily Stanevisscioususss, the Dunnemaster, Syd and Josh, Calvin, Jaylen, Emma, David, Gary Meatball Miller, Isac and the entire Heywire Fam past n present, Carlisle, Tuna, Alex, Katie, the monkey wrench gang, all ya’ll crazies on EA term, all my roommates, all my CAs, all my classmates, all my homies from the RB days, and the rest of you, too.

A peak experience?

East Asia Term was incredible. We traveled throughout Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Hawaii via plane, bus, train, boat, and rickshaw scooters over the course of 11 weeks. It was absolutely amazing!!

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

I’m really surprised about the accuracy of the silly motivational quote “Anything worth doing isn't easy.” Over the last four years, I pushed and challenged myself beyond my preconceived physical, emotional and mental capacities. I never thought I could become a Class IV whitewater raft guide, navigating the rapids of the Royal Gorge and Browns Canyon. I never thought I could successfully handle a long-distance relationship for several months. I never thought I could graduate cum laude with two tough majors with ZERO overlapping classes. Without positive self-talk and the ability to zone out the negative voices, this would have been impossible. I really think I am an overall better person for going through these tough tasks. And it’s been a pleasure to have Augustana facilitate my growth!!

How did you use your Augie Choice?

Sake during East Asia Term.

What will you miss the most?

People and things. My Heywire fam is comprised of courageous people with a good sense of humor. For four hours a week, we make fools of ourselves and then we get to do it in front of other people. Doing improv and comedy makes you so vulnerable-on stage revealing yourself to the audience. We've had so many haters, people who say really mean things about what we do! But more importantly, we have awesome fans and an incredible family!! I will miss that for sure.

College life has lots of things I've taken advantage garbage bags, wifi everywhere, free bus service, access to a library and computers, research databases and Special Collections, study areas, free software from ITS folder in the S drive. I'm gonna miss those things a lot.

Advice for the Class of 2019?

Go to Lincoln Park. It's beautiful. It has basketball and tennis courts and a baseball field. And it's right across the street. And campus security is never there.

“In his second year at Augustana, Paul impressed me so much during class discussions that I was initially convinced he was a graduating senior. Thankfully, I still had the pleasure of his presence for another few years. Paul’s talents are diverse, as his unusual pairing of majors and his activities at college prove. He is certainly one of the most curious, insightful and engaging students I’ve had.”


- Dr. Brian Leech, assistant professor, history