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Titus Jilderda
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Titus Jilderda

Graduation year: 2023

High school: Milledgeville High School

Hometown: Mt. Carroll, Ill.

Majors: Theatre arts (performance), communication studies

Activities: Take Back the Night, Title IX SAC, theatre performances

Post-grad plans: Theatre apprenticeship program

Why Augustana?

When originally looking at different colleges, Augustana was always going to be my backup option in case I didn't find somewhere I liked more. So, after a number of months while I was still a senior in high school with no better options to be found, I decided to jump on to Augustana!

I had gotten the opportunity to visit the campus, as well as having some friends who went here. That helped show me a sneak preview of what life was like here. It didn’t take me long to realize I loved it here!

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

Dear lord, not even in the slightest! When I came to Augustana, I thought I wanted to do something in either computer science or physics. That took a sharp turn after realizing I loved the theatre and communication classes I was able to take.

I really had no idea what kind of person I was going to become by the end of college, and frankly, I can’t tell you the kind of person I’ll be four years after graduating. Yet, I'm still so excited to see what I'll be like!

Who helped you get to where you are now?

By far the two biggest sources of help were that of the faculty in both my departments, as well as all the amazing people I get the honor to call my friends.

The faculty in both the theatre and comm departments are truly some of the most amazing, down-to-earth and kindred spirits I have had the pleasure to meet. They’ve seen me at my worst, and they’ve seen me at my best.

With every hardship I faced, I knew even if I felt alone, I could go to them for guidance. Not to get sappy, but my theatre advisor has seen me break down and faced with challenges time and time again; yet she always helped give me the advice I needed, even if it was hard to see.

My friends along the way have done the same, helping hold me up when I felt like I was falling. Without the amazing network of people I found at Augustana, I don’t think I could have remotely succeeded the way I have during my time here.

Peak experience?

The most unique and amazing experience I had is surely the opportunity to go to Germany for a study-abroad trip. I’ve loved all my experiences at Augustana, but without Augustana, I never could have traveled to such an amazing place, experienced such an amazing program and had the opportunity to bond with people I never would have met otherwise.

Experiencing the location, the culture and the people were all a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would never have given up for anything else.

What surprised you?

Honestly? The speed at which it’s all gone by. Perhaps that can be chalked up to COVID and how that truly altered many of the ways I think my class especially experienced Augustana. I still am shocked by the realization of how close graduation is for me.

So take your time, as much as you can grab onto, and make it as wonderful as possible.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

Pretty simple! I ended up using my Augie Choice money mostly on my Germany study-abroad trip to help cover tuition costs of the program.

What will you miss the most?

The community. By far the biggest thing that I still miss is the experience I was able to have as a freshman and the way campus was buzzing with activity. COVID changed that quite a bit, not really to the fault of anything Augustana did specifically, but I do still look forward to when that experience can come back.

It's slowly getting there, as this year I can feel it slowly taking root again. Until then, I hope those who come help reawaken that energy of campus!

Advice for the Class of 2027?

Be prepared to fail. I’ve been in organizations that I realized I couldn’t commit to. I’ve taken tests and done projects that I realized I wouldn’t be able to finish to standards I set. So be prepared to fall … but also be prepared to have many people who are there to help you back up.

"Titus has an insatiable curiosity about plays, characters and theatre's place in the world. Whether it's performing a classical or modern character, or analyzing plays in classes, he always demonstrates his enthusiasm and draws others into that through his welcoming, warm personality. We will miss our many office, lobby and post-class chats with him but look forward to hearing more about how he continues those after Augustana!"

– Dr. Jennifer Popple, associate professor and chair, theatre arts