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Andrew Cochrane
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Andrew Cochrane

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Buffalo Grove High School

Hometown: Arlington Heights, Ill.

Major: English education

Campus activities: Club Ed, Augustana Unabridged, Mental Health First Aid

Internship: Pleasant Valley (Iowa) High School student teacher

Post-grad plans: Teaching English

Why Augustana?

I went to Augustana for a couple of reasons. I knew I wanted a small school, and Augie fit the bill for that. I loved the campus. The food on the tour was good. More importantly, I felt like the people I spoke with actually cared about me. I was in contact with a couple of professors prior to attending and felt like it could be a second home for me. They were welcoming and kind, and they helped me feel like the Quad Cities could be a good place to grow into adulthood.

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

That's hard to say. I think I've grown in ways I can't really measure, so it's not where I thought I would be. I think it's better — it'd be hard for my high-school self to imagine myself today. The world was in a pretty strange place when I graduated from high school in June 2020, and I had no clue what the future held. What I can say for certain is that I'm happy with where I am now. Augie's faculty members have helped me get to that point.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

There's a laundry list of people who've gotten me to this point. My parents have done so much for me, always pushing me to be my best self. My brother is one of the smartest, most caring people I know. 

My advisor, Prof. Katie Hanson, has helped me through everything, and helped me grow into the teacher I am. She's incredible. Dr. David Crowe has helped me become the writer I am today. He also introduced "Lincoln in the Bardo" to me, which is my favorite book of all time. Prof. Brett Biebel, I can't say enough good things about him. He's helped me attempt to get published and find my place in the world. He was my FYI professor so he got to see me change over four years. I'm happy to call him a friend now. 

My friends, Anna, Blake, Hipes, Erika, Victoria, Nic, Max, they all have shown me so much love. I wouldn't be the person I am today without the people I've met. I'm so deeply grateful for them.

Peak experience?

I don't think I have one moment. There's a flood of memories for me: blasting "Hey Jude" on a cold winter night. Breaking my creative block and writing something I want to publish. Going to Blue Spruce Bakery on Saturdays. Crying from laughter with my English ed. cohort. Watching a ballgame with my friends as the sun sets over the Mississippi. What could possibly be better than that? You know what I mean? Everything else is sort of a footnote.

What surprised you?

The connections I've built. I don't think my high-school self could've seen it coming. Leaving this little community will be the hardest part. I love it here, and that's because of the people. They care so deeply, and that's a pretty incredible thing. I feel comfortable going into the world thanks to them — another thing I couldn't have predicted.

What will you miss the most?

I'm going to miss the Quad Cities a lot. I see myself ending up back here one day. I'm going to miss the coffee (thanks, Redband), I'm going to miss the food (thanks, Miss Phay, Old Mexico and Tony's), I'm going to miss the friends I've made throughout the QC, and I'm going to miss the campus. There's a special kind of beauty here, one where you're walking to an early class and the light breaks through the clouds, you hear the birds, and you feel like it's going to be okay.

Advice for the Class of 2028?

I'll quote George Saunders here, whom you should absolutely read: “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” Whatever you do, err in the direction of kindness. And someday, you'll see a kinder world in turn.

"Andrew Cochrane has the purest curiosity and deepest sense of gratitude I have seen at Augustana in decades. He seems to fall in love with every book I assign in a course, and then he asks for another title by the same author. He loves to talk books and ideas before and after class and then, in his unassuming way, leads the day’s discussion. He is going to be an excellent English teacher, and his students will be lucky to have someone who can model true compassion, curiosity and love of books."

– Dr. David Crowe, professor, English