Coffee with Lea

Photo by the AU sign.

Lea buys chocolate ice cream, I buy coffee ice cream. She’s a redhead, I’m blonde. She drives a Chevy, I stick to Ford. Her creamer-to-coffee ratio is 5:1, mine is 1:5. She’s Froiland, I’m Humanities.

Sixteen years ago, our friendship began.

Our friendship grew stronger during high school as we searched for our passions. Lea credits Avon High School teachers Paul Kuhlman and Connie Gretschmann and former AHS teacher Gayle Cushenberry for strengthening her passion for science, specifically physiology and anatomy.

“All three of those people prepared me to be a science major,” Lea said. Lea is currently a sophomore biology major with a medical lab science emphasis.

For Lea, finding explanations and understanding how things work is always the goal, which is what draws her to science.

“Science always answered the question, ‘why?’ for me,” Lea said. She is always eager to obtain new knowledge.

Lea’s eagerness to learn is channeled into her dream to travel abroad.

“My number one [place] is London or Dublin,” Lea said. “That’s where I would start and then I would branch out.”

Passport already purchased, Lea keeps a list of all the places she plans to go someday. After growing up solely in the Midwest, Lea is determined not to spend the rest of her life in one place.

“I don’t want to travel to the same place twice because there’s so much to explore,” Lea said.

Lea’s desire to travel transports her mentally into the future. She’s guilty of scrolling through Facebook videos of travel destinations or Googling cheap road trips for college students.

Due to her desire to travel, Lea sometimes gets lost in the future. When those moments hit, her mom, Lori, pulls her back to the present.

“I tend to think too much about the future and not what’s happening right now,” Lea said. “My mom gets me back to what I need to focus on now.”

For now, Lea keeps busy studying, working as an office assistant and caretaker for the Froiland Science Complex biology department, dog-sitting, going to the Sioux Falls Boys and Girls Club for practicum every week and joining her best friend on spontaneous cappuccino excursions.

Lea spends her free time researching study abroad opportunities, which she hopes to do soon. Traveling will allow her to keep learning, even after college.

“My biggest fear in life is to not experience the world,” Lea said.

Wherever Lea travels, I know I can count on her to have my back.


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P.S. Lea once informed me that if we’re still friends at 25, we will get matching tattoos. Come back in 2023 to see how that turns out.


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Journalism, communication and media studies major at Augustana University (S.D.). Coffee lover and feature writer.

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