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Ariana Solis
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Ariana Solis

Graduation year: 2019

Hometown: Elmhurst, Ill.

Majors: Psychology, sociology (concentration in social welfare)

Minors: Spanish, Latin American studies

Activities: Epsilon Sigma Alpha service sorority, Búhos English classes, Psi Chi/Psych Club, Latinx Unidos, Omicron Delta Kappa honor society, Mortar Board honor society, Phi Beta Kappa

Internships: Imerman Angels One-on-One Cancer Support, Scott County Jail, Palomares Social Justice Center, UnityPoint Trinity Cancer Center

Post-grad plans: Pursue a master's in social work

Why Augustana?

In addition to having one of the most beautiful campuses that I visited, Augustana was very generous in the financial support offered to me. This has, thankfully, been a continuing trend during my four years here. More than that, however, is the fact that Augustana seemed to really want me to feel like an individual who mattered during my entire application process.

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

Yes and no. While I still have an unwavering dedication to the field of social services, I am on a slightly different career path than originally intended. But most importantly, the woman who is graduating Augustana this May is a much better version of the woman who started here four years ago; I am proud to recognize that I have grown in my understanding of the world, as well as myself. I never could have imagined how dedicated I would become to the causes that matter to me, and this is absolutely because of my experiences at Augustana.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

I wish I could go through and individually point out how I have been helped by each of the people in my life, but I can only hope they will recognize themselves in what I am about to say and realize how important their presence has been to me.

A huge shoutout to the amazing professors I have had during my four years—they saw promise in me that I could never have found on my own and constantly challenged me to go further in my intellectual pursuits.

I am also grateful for my peers and the different perspectives they brought to our discussions because our conversations were fundamental to my growth. My friends have been an instrumental part of my time at Augustana because they were there for me in the worst of times and helped create the best of memories.

My family, obviously, for their support and encouragement. But most of all, my wonderful mother, who has been by my side from the very beginning as my biggest fan and has never let me lose sight of my aspirations.

Peak experience?

I was very fortunate to have two opportunities to study abroad, in Brazil and Guatemala, respectively. These experiences, while different in focus, impacted me deeply by challenging my comfort zone and creating two windows through which to recommit to my goals and values. I know I will forever carry the memories and lessons I took away from each place.

What surprised you?

I learned so much about my strengths and how even my weaknesses are not always what they seem. Thinking through my past four years, there were a lot of moments where I had to pick myself back up, remember what I am working toward and realize that the parts of myself that do not fit with everyone else are also what make me stand out in the best way.

All in all, I have been pleasantly surprised by my resiliency and the strength of my voice, as well as my profound ability to care. These are characteristics I have learned to utilize for my benefit in every aspect of my personal and professional lives.

How did you use Augie Choice?

I used Augie Choice to study abroad in Brazil during fall term of my junior year.

What will you miss the most?

Without a doubt, I will miss the people most. A place only becomes home through the families we build, and I have had the opportunity to build so many families at Augustana and throughout the Quad Cities. I am already preemptively missing my Augie families because the people I love here have become a part of every single day of my life. While I cannot imagine what it will be like to not see these people every day, I am incredibly lucky and grateful to have had each member of my “family” by my side during these pivotal years.

Advice for the Class of 2023?

We can try and plan for everything, but life has a funny way of working around our plans. While it is great to prepare, it is even better to learn how to adapt to potentially unexpected changes because sometimes we must readjust and redirect along a new path.

Remember that you have time to figure things out and there is not a single “right way” to lead your life. And trust me when I say that no one has it all together—some of us are just a lot better at pretending.

“Ariana combines the best qualities of a liberal arts student: a range of interests (two majors and two minors!), motivation to get the most out of her education, commitment to social justice, and preparation to make a positive contribution to the community. She has participated in two studies abroad that gave her firsthand experience for her Latin American studies minor and service-learning opportunities related to her psychology and social welfare majors. Ariana is warm, caring and appreciative of differences. She will become an outstanding social worker after graduate school. Many people will enjoy and benefit from knowing her!”

– Dr. Ruth Ann Johnson, professor, psychology and neuroscience