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More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Livia Donald

Graduation year: 2020

High school: Morton High School

Hometown: Morton, Ill.

Majors: Business administration-management, business administration-marketing

Minor: Psychology

Activities: Cheer Team, Phi Rho sorority (honorary)

Internship: Ampersand International–Sydney, Australia

Post-grad plans: Client specialist, Alight Solutions

Why Augustana?  

Augustana was the right choice for me because it allowed me to find my voice. When I came to Augustana, I was a shy and quiet individual. Augustana allowed me to find people who supported me and wanted my voice to be heard. This is true in terms of coaches, professors and students.

I found a community that wants everyone's opinion to be heard and for everyone to be proud to share who they are. I have transformed from that shy, quiet girl into a powerful, proud woman that I couldn't be more proud of.

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

I have exceeded all expectations of where I thought I would be when I came to college. Looking back at my adventures and experiences, I never could've imagined the place that I stand in right now. I am prepared to leave Augustana with a voice, a future and memories that will last a lifetime.

Who helped you get to where you are now?  

My biggest supporter was my brother, Riley, a 2018 Augustana alumnus. During our shared time here, he pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to succeed at everything I put my mind to. He offered me help when I needed advice and gave me the space I needed when I had the power to overcome my fears. He introduced me to the chance of living a college life I won't regret. He showed me how to have fun but also when it was time to be serious and crack down.

While we had our fights and spats, it was ultimately his life at college that allowed me to consider Augustana. The community he made and the people who became his lifelong friends are the reason why I opened myself up to the opportunities in my life and the opportunities that Augustana could offer me.

Peak experience?   

My peak experience was the chance to study abroad in Sydney, Australia. I had never left the country prior to this trip, and during my time there, I was able to travel to Queenstown and Auckland, New Zealand, as well as live in Sydney for several weeks. I completed an internship and spent the remainder of my free time exploring the new culture.

What surprised you?    

I was surprised to have developed such a core group of friends. I was anxious about attending a college where I didn't know many people prior to arriving, but after four years, I can say that I still have the same core group of friends that I made on the first day of my arrival for cheer tryouts. I have shared many times of laughing and crying with these girls, and I love them.

How did you use your Augie Choice?   

I used my Augie Choice to study abroad in Australia. I spend two weeks of the trip in Queenstown and Auckland, New Zealand, being able to explore. After that I lived in Sydney and held an internship with Ampersand International, a recruiting company.

What will you miss the most?   

I'll miss the community and support system I have developed. Once college ends, everyone heads off in their own direction. There is hope for planning vacations and weekend trips in the future, but the end of college gives you a surreal feeling that you need to spend as much time with your classmates as possible. Staying up all night, going on crazy adventures, and the many dinner dates to attend are things no student should take for granted.

Advice for the Class of 2024?    

Get to know your advisors and professors. They are a great connection to have and are always willing to help you. Yes, they will challenge you through coursework, but ultimately, they are challenging you to become the best version of yourself.

"Humble and quiet. I cannot think of a better way to start talking about Livia. She is exceptional as a student but never draws attention to quite how exceptional she is. In a field where people move often to the most lucrative opportunities, she is considering a move to a volunteer force. I am looking forward to seeing her push herself to keep learning, and get the most out of all of her experiences."

– Mamata Marmé, advising coordinator and instructor, business administration