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More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Meg Klocke

Graduation year: 2020

High school: Moline High School

Hometown: Moline, Ill.

Major: Elementary education (K-12 Reading Teacher Endorsement)

Activities: President's Advisory Council, Mortar Board, Education Club 

Internships: Kindergarten Numeracy Program at Longfellow Elementary School (winter term 2017-spring semester 2020); student teaching at Paul Norton Elementary School (fall semester 2019)

Post-grad plans: Elementary school teacher

Why Augustana?

Being a local and the daughter of two Augustana graduates, Augustana was always on my college radar. When I starting visiting colleges, I fell in love with the beautiful and welcoming campus, just as my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles had.

After talking to professors and students in the education department, I knew Augustana was for me. The education program had incredible opportunities for me throughout my college experience.

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

I came to campus knowing I was going to learn, but I had no idea how much I would learn. My knowledge has expanded more than I could have ever imagined. The best thing is that with the knowledge I have gained, I have learned to apply it to everyday life. Knowledge is useless if you cannot share it.

The things I have learned have helped me grow as an individual, not just as a student. I had no idea how much my education could play a part in my becoming an independent adult.

Who helped you get to where you are now?    

One major thing I have learned during college is the importance of having a tribe of people. These people support you through bad times and good. They are easy to bounce ideas around with. They are honest, and sometimes they have to be brutally honest.

I could not have gone through all the ups and downs of college without my tribe of people: my entire family, especially my parents and brothers; my friends; my education professors; our wonderful Provost Dr. Wendy Hilton-Morrow; and the teachers from various schools I have volunteered in.

All of these people have pushed me to be my best self, and I cannot thank them enough. So, a huge thank you to my tribe.

Peak experience?  

My peak experience was having the opportunity to work with kindergarteners at Longfellow Elementary School in Rock Island. I worked with students one-on-one to improve their number sense, which is understanding what numbers mean.

Although I loved teaching students about numbers, I loved forming quality relationships with them even more. Each student had entertaining stories to tell me. I enjoyed listening and learning from them because they always had different and new ideas for me.

What surprised you?  

What surprised me the most was how possible it would be to balance all the activities I wanted to be a part of. I was able to go to class, work, tutor individual students, complete my schoolwork, be with my friends, relax and go to bed at a decent hour (which I need). I was happily surprised that I could do everything I dreamed of doing.

How did you use your Augie Choice?  

I used my Augie Choice to study abroad in Jamaica during spring break my junior year. I volunteered in the Alpha Primary School while in Kingston. The students were as fascinated with my culture as I was with theirs. They taught me the importance of appreciating what you have. I even met Usain Bolt.

What will you miss the most?  

I will miss the professors and peers I have been able to collaborate with day in and day out. My education professors have shown me how important collaboration is with those around you. From open office doors to group tables in the classrooms, it is clear that working together to create new ideas is an essential part of the education department.

Teamwork makes the dream work, and that has been very apparent over my last four years at Augustana. I will take this concept with me through life.

Advice for the Class of 2024?   

You will change in the next four years, but through all of the ups and downs, be yourself! I promise you will find people who are just like you. You are incredible just the way you are. There are amazing people out there destined to be in your life, and they will appreciate you for being yourself.

“I worked with Meg in advising and classes, and during her internships in the Number Sense Project for three years. I also supervised her student teaching where I saw all of the classwork and field experiences come together into a very successful experience. I appreciated the patient and compassionate way she engaged with her third-grade students. I look forward to hearing about her adventures as a teacher next year and, in the not too distant future, when she begins her graduate work. Thank you, Meg, for coming to Augie!”

– Dr. Randy Hengst, professor and director, elementary education