Austin Kuchenbecker is a senior biochemistry major, originally hailing from Muskego, WI. He has been involved in the Honors Program Planetarium Initiative, the Student Ambassador program, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and as a student-athlete on the men’s volleyball team.
Why did you come to Loras?
I visited a lot of schools before I made my decision to attend Loras. I think my final total was around 15. Some of them had the academics I was looking for, some the athletics, some the campus. When it came down to it, the community, the size, and support I had glimpsed from my visit on campus made me feel confident that Loras was the school for me. Loras was really the whole package for me.
Out of everything you’ve been involved in, what was the most significant thing you’ve been involved in?
I like to think that the most significant thing I have been a part of in my time at Loras has been my involvement in building the campus for the better. From the projector our Honors group brought to the planetarium, to the countless tours I’ve given, to my part in building the school’s first collegiate men’s volleyball program, I like the idea that those are things that will continue to positively impact the campus and community that first brought me to Dubuque.
How have you seen yourself change over your four years at Loras?
The biggest change I have seen in myself is my disposition toward excellence. I spent most of my time before college identifying excellence as the quantified result – the “A” on the grading scale, the most minutes played, the most renown. Now, as I’m wrapping up my senior year, I find that so much more of what excellence is cannot be so clearly defined. I feel that everyone has their own journey, and to define that journey as a success only requires that that person deem it was.
What is some advice you would give to a younger student who is just starting their Loras journey?
You’re going to grow and change. Remember that just because something doesn’t go as planned, that isn’t a reason to give up or think yourself a failure. Aspirations will shift, goals will change, but you don’t need to be afraid. You are surrounded by people that will help you navigate the twisty-turny route that your next four years will bring.
If you had one word to sum up your Loras experience, what would it be and why?
Insightful. I learned so much about myself and others through the experiences and challenges I was exposed to. I am leaving Loras with an insight into both my person and my world I previously never knew I could have.