John James.

MIHEC Student Profile: John James

I’m part of the Augie Access Program at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which is awesome. I chose Augustana because it’s only a few hours from home and it’s a small campus so I can get from one building to the next quickly.

I knew right away I wanted to be involved with the sports teams at Augustana because I’ve always loved sports, so I connected through Augie Access with the coaching staffs for the football and baseball teams. I’ve done some ball spotting and other things for the football team and I’m a bat boy for the baseball team, which is also awesome.

Once I was here, I knew that, as a social person, I’d want to find other ways to connect with people. I’m now a senator in the Augustana Student Association, or ASA, representing the needs and concerns of my fellow students in the Augie Access Program. I was very glad I was selected because I had wanted to find a leadership role. I also serve on the diversity committee, which works to make our campus better for the LGBTQ community and for people of color.

This winter, I’ll be spending three weeks in Costa Rica as part of a study-abroad term. It will be the first time I’ve left the country without my parents. I researched all of Augustana’s international programs on my own, and I found that Costa Rica interested me most because it is tropical, and I’ve always wanted to try surfing. The program offers diverse adventure opportunities as part of an exercise and sports science curriculum. As we are surfing, hiking, zip-lining, biking, and climbing, we will apply concepts that include human anatomy and nutrition. I’m really excited about this opportunity. It’s a great fit because I’ve always been outgoing and it’s an example of the new paths that I’ve been able to pursue at college.

Another path has been social. During freshman year, I started hanging out with this group of guys and eventually we started going out for dinners and sports games and, of course, college parties. Having friends has made this experience amazing and I couldn’t be happier.

The classes I’m auditing include coaching theory and sports management, and I have a peer navigator who assists me with notetaking and other tasks. After this year, I will apply for a fourth year at Augustana, and then after that I plan to move back to Minnesota and get a job with a Minnesota professional sports team.

I always wanted to go to college, like my sisters did, and now I’m doing it. The hardest parts have been being away from home and not seeing my mom, stepdad, and Percy, my dog. Getting up early for class was tough, too. Keeping busy through all my activities really helps with the homesickness, and I’ve grown up a lot in the last few years here. It has just been a fun experience overall. To anyone thinking of going to college, I would encourage them to go for it. It will change your life forever.