School spirit, the Augie advantage

School spirit: the one thing that all of us as Augieholics say we have more of than any other private school in the region.

School spirit isn’t simply painting your body on game day, nor is it being mute on Monday after screaming at a string of games over the weekend. It’s the pride Augie makes you show and feel. It’s the courage to stand up for what is best for everyone when there’s a problem, and the humility to admit that you wouldn’t have achieved what you have without the help of Augustana.

We as Augustana students, faculty, administration and alumni embody the essence of what school spirit means. Whether it’s the opportunity to wear a toga to Toga Night at the Elmen Center or dance in the back alley until the ceiling starts to rain from the humidity level, we stick together. These are the moments our spirit is strongest and it would be unwise to ever stand in the way of them. For better or worse, we will not be complacent. We push ourselves to work harder, run faster and explore farther. We’re not just a college, we’re a community and we show it time and time again. From the Facebook debacle to #BringBackPeg, we fight for our community when we feel challenged and we celebrate when we overcome these challenges.

And so I write to all of you Augieholics from a cliché senior standpoint. My time here is nearly over. Don’t take for granted what you have. Enjoy the school spirit because so many schools don’t have it. Even as a college of less than 1,800 students, we have and will continue to show why we “Go Viking.”

On and off the field we are continuously a force to be reckoned with. In our small-knit group of students we collectively share our happiness, pain, stress and relief. We win national titles and suffer depressing seasons. We pass Biology 121 and struggle through Constitutional Law. We welcome new students and say goodbye to so many. Fortunately those students who leave us depart with a feeling of belonging that is unmatched by any other.

Yes, school spirit can be hard to define, but maybe it doesn’t have to be. Maybe our school spirit comes from our memories, passions, faith and family. Maybe simply knowing and feeling it is enough to understand why Augie can be so great.

I came here with the attitude that I was going to live up every moment I could. That’s what I recommend to all of you. A grade is only a letter and your GPA is only a number. These things do not define who you are, don’t let them! Twenty years from now, you’re not going to think back on that econometrics test, you’re going to remember the friends, events and moments when you got to simply be a college student.

Now more than ever before, we feel so much pressure to excel, grow-up and be responsible adults, but we take this with a grain of salt. From this awkward 18-22 age span, each and every one of you gets the chance to be stupid, obnoxious and (occasionally) make mistakes.

While making these decisions, good or bad, we learn and grow. We rely on friends during tough times, knowing that they expect the same things from us. This feeling of importance, belonging and love is what gives us a distinct atmosphere that is rarely seen.

So, what is the spirit of Augustana? You are. And like so many before you, you will be the one to instill that feeling of worth and spirit in all the future students to come. Have a great homecoming and remember, today and every day is a great day to be a Viking!