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Abigail Larson
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Abigail Larson

Graduation year: 2023

High school: Lisbon Community High School

Hometown: Lisbon, Iowa

Majors: Religion, multimedia journalism and mass communication

Activities: Campus Ministries, Concert Chorale choir, Zeta Phi Kappa sorority

Internship: Augustana's EDGE Center

Post-grad plans: I am taking a gap year to work and rest, and then I plan to go to seminary in hopes of becoming a hospital chaplain.

Why Augustana?

I chose Augustana because of the beautiful campus. When my sister was in school at a different institution, she had an internship with the Mississippi Bend Players on Augustana's campus. She told me that I would love the campus, and suggested I come visit for myself.

After touring campus and an overnight visit, I knew I had found where I wanted to go. Between the beautiful nature scenes and inviting buildings, it was hard to not feel at home here.

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

I don't think so. I started college with a very specific idea of who I wanted to become and what path I was going to take. It didn't take long for me to realize all of the opportunities I didn't know were out there, and my well-constructed plan seemed to come undone. I never thought I'd be so grateful for a plan to fall through.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

There are so many people who helped me get to the place I am now. For starters, my friends and roommates, who have loved and supported me every day since we met our first year. My family has also always been there to encourage and support me when I felt like giving up.

On campus, the religion department has continually motivated me as a student and helped me discern my call. Dr. Jason Mahn has inspired me to believe in myself and my writing and has helped me recognize my gifts and where they fit in this world.

Dr. Eric Stewart has also been incredibly supportive as our religion Senior Inquiry advisor this year, and I will always be grateful for the time we shared in class with the other religion majors.

Lastly, there is no way I could be where I am today without Trisha Hines-Morrison and everyone in Facilities. Going to work in Facilities was like getting to come home to a second family, and I will forever miss getting to hear their laughs and see their smiles every day.

Peak experience?

My peak experience was my religion Senior Inquiry course that I took this fall as part of my religion major. I have never been a part of a class that was so close-knit and compatible with each other, and it was an amazing experience both academically and socially.

I know for myself when I pictured going to college, I imagined these small classes with personal, relevant and passionate conversations, and our religion SI class was the epitome of that vision.

What surprised you?

I was surprised to find out that college is less about changing who you are completely and more about helping you find who you've always been.

I think I came into college with the impression that I'd undergo a complete personality shift when really the people I've met and experiences I've had at Augustana have helped me become a better version of who I already was.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the community. I'm sure this is a popular answer because the people at Augustana are amazing. The brilliant students, faculty and staff are the reason Augustana is as wonderful as it is, and I will miss being so connected with such a great community.

Whether it was seeing your friends in the Brew or running into a professor on campus, not a day went by where I didn't find myself calling out to someone and waving a little too enthusiastically. I'll miss that.

Advice for the Class of 2027?

Be yourself. I know that's basic, but it's important. There was a discernible difference in my learning when I was in a class where I felt comfortable being myself. If you embrace who you are and show that person to others, you'll find the friends and mentors you connect with best much quicker.

"In a Suffering, Death and Hope class during her junior year, Abigail served as a hospice volunteer — accompanying people who were dying. Beside her courage to do this difficult, important work, Abigail has reflected deeply on these and other 'threshold' experiences. Her academic and emotional intelligence shone through again in her Senior Inquiry project, which drew on religious and philosophical wisdom to think about mortality and lives worth living. I am heartened to know that wise, attentive graduates like Abigail are tomorrow's ministers and community leaders!"

– Dr. Jason Mahn, professor, religion