Coffee with Sophie

Sioux Falls airport selfie.

“I’m just a narcissist,” Sophie said when I thanked her for doing an interview.

She’s wrong.

Last fall, Sophie and I were delivering yearbooks and I dropped mine on the pavement, smashing the edge. I was disappointed, but Sophie immediately offered to switch with me. This was a kind gesture from a woman whose name I had yet to learn (turns out her name is Sophia). Sophie cheerfully took the smashed yearbook and made me feel better.

Sophie and I attended the ACP\CMA College Media Convention and I got to know her better. She and three other Augie students presented a panel about empathy in journalism, which was one of the rare occasions that I’ve seen Sophie in something other than a flannel, backwards hat, socks and Birkenstocks.

“I don’t trust people who are too put together,” Sophie said. She sipped her iced chai latte.

Laying on the floor in journalism class.
Sophie overwhelmed with journalism.

Whether she’s put together in Dallas or sprawled out on the floor in journalism class, Sophie stays upbeat.

“You gotta fake it ‘til you make it,” Sophie said with a big smile.

Despite her upcoming graduation and the uncertainty she feels about her career destination, Sophie was happy – whether she was faking it or making it is hard to say – during the interview.

Sophie is majoring in religion and minoring in journalism but does not have her post-graduation plans mapped out. This summer, Sophie will work for 1517 Media in Minneapolis as an editorial intern, where she hopes to start a career in writing.

“I don’t think about it,” Sophie said. “When people ask me, I just scream and run away.”

If the pressure builds too high, Sophie gets a new perspective.

“I stand on tables a lot. It’s a new outlook on life,” Sophie said. She paused to drink from her green Starbucks straw in the dimly lit Huddle. “Literally, I rise above.”

Sioux Falls airport selfie.
Sophie is the only person I’ve met who is happy before a 5 a.m. flight. (Shi Almont, me, Sophie and Taylor Olson at the Sioux Falls airport.)

Currently, Sophie visits her hometown of Stoughton, WI., and chooses not to worry about post-graduation pressure or herself, but about furniture. Sophie spends her time at home antiquing with her mom, who is her role model.

“She’s really strong in what she believes and what she does,” Sophie said of her mom. Sophie also admires her mom’s dedication to pursuing her dreams. “Growing up, she knew she wanted to be a pastor, but the ELCA didn’t allow female pastors.”

ELCA began ordaining women in 1984 and Sophie’s mom became one of the first female pastors.

Sophie and her mom maintain a close relationship, despite her mom’s dislike of phone calls.

“I think the longest phone conversation I’ve had with my mom is eight minutes,” Sophie said while sipping her latte.   

When she’s not competing with her brothers to see who can keep their mom on the phone the longest, Sophie fills her time as co-president of Augie Quiz Bowl, a faculty and staff section editor for the yearbook, tutoring in the Writing Center and watching a lot of Netflix in her house, better known as Camp No Pants.

Sophie tackles whatever comes her way, staying happy rather than worrying about the unknown. If Sophie breaks down, she does so with an optimistic tone and the phrase “this is fine.”

Printed picture of friends
Augustana students at the ACP\CMA College Media Convention (Sophie: front row left).

No one who spends as much time as Sophie does thinking about goats could possibly be a narcissist.

“I think goats are the closest things to magic on this planet,” Sophie said.

Thank you, Sophie, for the reminder to have optimism and self-confidence…and for the yearbook. You’re going to be formidable in Minneapolis – and beyond.



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

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