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Julia Meyer
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Julia Meyer

Graduation year: 2018

Major: History

Minors: Geology, German

Activities: Women’s club basketball, Udden Geology Club, OSL Technology Team, Augustana softball student assistant

Internship: VASA National Archives Digital Archiving Internship in Bishop Hill, Ill.

Post-grad plans: This summer I will work at Camp Amnicon, a religious wilderness camp in northern Wisconsin. Then I plan to volunteer for a year, ideally at Holden Village in the state of Washington. 

Why Augustana?

I wanted a small, private college not too far away from my home state of Wisconsin but with a different environment. Augustana offered an array of academic and extracurricular activities that interested me as well as a welcoming atmosphere. I can’t exactly pinpoint why Augustana felt like home to me, but I knew once I chose Augustana it was the right place for me.

Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?

I have always loved to learn so choosing an area of study was difficult. I remember meeting with Keri Bass in CORE, and she said that it seemed like I wanted to minor in everything, which was very true! However, I’m not surprised I ended up choosing history and geology. German kind of came out of nowhere; I hadn’t experienced it before Augie but sometimes that’s how things work. I never would have imagined I would travel on my own in Europe, find myself making pottery, help proofread a book or be a part of a bowling club during college.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

So many people have helped me get to where I am today, and it would be nearly impossible to mention them all! I want to thank my advisor Dr. Ellis who revived my love for history. He offered great advice and opened wonderful opportunities like suggesting I come along to Germany, a trip that ended up changing my life for the better. From him I learned just as much in the ‘outer’ world as I did in the academic world. I also want to thank Dr. Strasser for encouraging me to continue with geology and to stick with something because I enjoyed it even though I might find it difficult and confusing. I can never thank Dr. Seidlitz enough for helping me puzzle-piece my German minor together after falling in love with the German culture. And I can’t forget Keri Bass of CORE, who I knew I could always count on when I didn’t know what to do with my life—whether it be academics or future plans. Thank you all so much!

Peak experience?

It’s so hard to choose! During sophomore year, I was in Holden Village winter term where I learned a lot about myself and the world around me and made some great friends. That trip resulted in my Senior Inquiry being about Holden Village, which was a whirlwind of a learning experience in itself. The fall of my sophomore year, my to-be advisor Dr. Ellis recommended that I go to Germany that summer on a study abroad trip. It was a remarkable experience that not only resulted in the addition of a German minor but altered my life. After three weeks of studying in Germany, I traveled by myself around Europe, something I never could have seen myself doing even months before. Being able to immerse myself in foreign places and learn about so many different cultures in Europe (as well as in Holden) was eye-opening. Words cannot truly describe how grateful I am that I was able to take part in these experiences. 

What surprised you?

I am surprised to learn that I love the unexpectedness of my future. I used to hate not knowing what was coming next in my life, what I was doing for the day or where I was going. Now find it slightly rewarding to embrace things as they come. Although the old mindset still sometimes appears, knowing that I have grown and have learned to embrace the unknown is quite rewarding.

How did you use Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to travel to Germany on the Berlin Term. We studied German philosophy and history by visiting Berlin, Leipzig and Weimar, among other cities in Germany.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the people the most, both faculty and students. I feel as if I have grown with so many people and leaving them will be the most difficult. I will also miss the places that make up Augie, especially the pottery studio!

Advice for the Class of 2022?

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. By going outside of what you are accustomed to, you will grow in ways you never expected and create wonderful experiences and memories that will be with you for the rest of your life.

"It is hard to imagine a student that has risen to the challenge of Augustana's mission more than Julia. She combines a powerful intellect with a ferocious work ethic, a sunny disposition, an insatiable curiosity and a vibrant life of faith. Her scholarship is truly outstanding; she offers original and insightful analyses, well grounded in a close reading of sources, with her broader concerns about what is unique and what is common to the human experience in different times and cultures. Equally at home on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and the cosmopolitan, world-class city of Berlin, Julia brings an aptitude for thoughtfulness and an ability to swim against the tide in a hasty and hastening world.”

– Dr. David Ellis, professor, history