Advice for a student in the CoB This Year

3 years ago, almost to date, I stepped onto campus for only the second time ever. A few days prior, I received the best advice I ever got- step outside of my comfort zone. In high school, I was never a very outgoing person. I played a few sports, went to classes, had my friend groups, but never had the drive or confidence to be outgoing. So, I challenged myself to get outside my comfort zone during my freshman year- it was the best collegiate decision I made.

I joined organizations left and right until I found a few that stuck. These organizations, along with the friends, faculty, and alumni I have met because of them, have completely transformed me. I have been able to develop skills that have not only made me more confident, but just overall more socially welcoming and enjoyable. All this was thanks to a piece of advice I was given during my orientation that I decided to wholeheartedly follow.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is one of the best ways to find out what you are truly capable of. Taking risks and doing things you might not normally do is a great way for someone to reinvent themselves, especially someone like me who was looking for a fresh start after high school- I enjoyed high school, but just wanted to create a different experience for myself.

I use to hate presenting and public speaking; I always felt so awkward and that everyone was constantly critiziczing me. What I came to realize was that with a little coaching, some practice, and a bit of built  up confidence, public speaking and presenting to a large group wasn’t that hard after all. Because of my choice to step outside of my comfort zone, and seek out opportunities to have new experiences, I know that I am a more well-rounded person.

What will you make of this year?


Mentoring: Past, Present, and Future

I have had several mentors that have helped me significantly during my time at NIU. Between faculty, alumni, administrators, and students, it is extremely hard to choose just one without leaving anyone out. I will talk about a former student that has had an incredible impact on my time here. I met him my freshman year, during the first week of school. It was he who first encouraged me to get involved. He got me to come out to a few clubs in the College of Business and I was hooked. My first two years, I was so busy that my sleep suffered a bit. He helped me out with everything from grades, to campus involvement, to personal struggles, and to even helping me socialize with people on campus. I did not know more than 2 people before stepping foot on campus. He helped me realize my passion and enthusiasm for NIU.

This year, I feel that I have taken on more of the mentor role. I have been getting my mentee involved with a variety of things on campus ranging from Honors, to study abroad, and research initiatives. She has come a long way already and is progressing extremely quickly. I was and still am able to help this person adjust to life on campus and away from home while preparing them for the real world. I am helping this person because I believe they have incredible potential and will also be willing and able to help out others in the future. I am where I am because of the shoulders of giants before me. I only hope to help out others in the ways that I have been helped myself.

I am most looking forward to getting to know my mentor this spring during the Student-Alumni mentor program. I was involved with the pilot program last spring and my mentor, Pete Garrity, was incredible. He is a recently retired marketing alumnus that has had a wealth of business experiences during his professional career. I have been very fortunate to get to know him and about his passions for NIU and this mentoring program. I am looking forward to getting know my mentor for this spring just as well as I have been fortunate enough to get to know Pete. I have been on the student end on nearly the whole process of setting up this mentoring program, from the very first day that the idea was conceived at a focus group at NIU’s Naperville campus. Mentoring is one of the key initiatives that President Baker has set forth to student career success. I am honored and excited to be a part of what could be a part of NIU for years to come.

Thanks for reading,


Two Worlds Collide- Over Paella

For those who might have read some of my previous posts, I was fortunate enough to spend the majority of this past summer abroad. I visited The Netherlands, Spain, and France. While in Spain, I was living with a host who taught me very much about different ways of thinking about the world. His level of English matched my level of Spanish, so our conversations were quite the mix of English, Spanish, and nonverbal forms of communication.

His name is Cesar, and he lives in Toledo, Spain. Despite being a western country, many Spaniards do not have the same mentality when it comes to work and family life. Many people in the United States are considered to be workaholics (a word I taught him) to those living in other countries. What we see as hard work, determination, and the American Dream, many Spaniards see as a waste of our most precious resource: time. When I asked him what he did for a living, he told me he loved to travel, follow his favorite band, and spend time with his family, some of whom consequently lived across the street. He did not tell me what his profession was until I restructured my question. I asked my friends and neighbors the same question (What do you do for a living?), and responses were almost impeccably centered on majors, minors, and jobs.

I do not write this to condemn, criticize, or try to change anyone’s way of life. I also realize that Cesar’s view does not reflect everyone that lives outside of the United States. It was, however, very eye opening to hear him talk about his views on life, where he has come from, and where he wants to go. In Spain, many people take a siesta, or nap in the early to late afternoon. This stems from the sometimes overbearing heat throughout much of the country, but it also shows a different way of thinking. Many people will leave work at about 2:00pm or 2:30pm, and head home for lunch and a nap. In our 9:00am-5:00pm corporate culture lifestyle, this would be unheard of.

Cesar and I spent hours upon hours of having discussions like this only to come to the same conclusion: there is no right answer, just differing points of view. Our diverse backgrounds lead us to respectively learn much about each other, while still maintaining our own views and lifestyles. Many of our conversations would be during mealtimes, over paella or churros y chocolate. Living in Spain for just under 2 months, I learned more about the world than I ever could have reading a textbook or looking up information online. This knowledge has led me to think about the world differently, and to maybe even change some of my Type-A behaviors to learn to slow down at times and appreciate things more.


Delta Sigma Pi: More than an organization

Hey everyone,

Today I am going to write about my experiences in Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity. Delta Sigma Pi is a co-ed, professional fraternity organized to foster the study of business in universities. I was first made aware of DSP my first week on campus, when I saw several members in Barsema Hall. They all talked to each other, and more than that, seemed to all be close friends. I knew no one coming into the College of Business, so it seemed like a great way to meet people and make friends. Joining was one of my best collegiate decisions to date.

DSP is a very revered organization in the College of Business, and the Dean is one of our faculty sponsors. Many of us sit on her advisory board. Recently because of my involvement in DSP and in the College, I was able to travel to Indianapolis with Dean Schoenbachler and Chloe Pooler (another Deltasig) to represent NIU at a leadership conference. Along with this conference, I have attended several national and regional conferences for Deltasigs in Milwaukee and Chicago.

Delta Sigma Pi is not only great for internal networking at NIU, but also for the business world as a whole. With over 225,000 brothers worldwide, the Deltasig network is quite extensive. I was even able to meet up with a few brothers when I traveled to Spain this past summer, and was able to speak with them about their experiences in our international professional fraternity.

Delta Sigma Pi has helped me develop myself professionally as well as personally. Skills such as interviewing, networking, and public speaking are among some of the tangible things I have taken away so far. I am also currently pursuing an internship for this upcoming summer; I am planning to leverage the Deltasig network in my pursuit. Aside from all the career opportunities and development I have experienced, I have made lifelong friends from Delta Sigma Pi. These friends I have made will be going into the workforce with me, and we will continue to be colleagues as well as close friends.

Overall, Delta Sigma Pi has allowed me to expand my own self in ways I had never even imagined. I never thought that I would be nearly as professionally developed as I am now, and I never thought I would have the network that I do. Some of my best friends have come out of Delta Sigma Pi, and I know we will always be there for each other. That being said, I would recommend it to anyone that is a business student interesting in surrounding themselves with like-minded individuals looking for great people and a great organization.


Past Accomplishments and Future Success: The Role of Mentors in the life of an NIU student

Throughout my time at NIU, I have been involved with a multitude of programs and leadership experiences that have enabled me to have an incredible collegiate experience. Among these, however, were 2 that stood out the most as they were the most unique and interrelated. The first and most beneficial to my future is the McKearn Fellows Program. Research, professional and personal development, and civic, social, and global engagement education and experience were among the highlights of the program. I was able to meet and interact with alumni that I likely would never have had the opportunity to otherwise. The McKearn Fellows Program helped open my eyes to the vast array of opportunities, and that there is a much bigger world out there than NIU, DeKalb, and even the United States. I decided to see the other side of the world and go abroad.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to not only go on one study abroad trip, but two. I traveled to The Netherlands with Dr. Bowers and the Honors Program on a trip focused on peace, justice, and the international courts. Global justice (and injustice) is an interesting topic, especially in regards to how it applies to individual and state sovereignty. After spending two and a half weeks in The Netherlands, my travels took me to Toledo, Spain in pursuit of a Spanish minor and a greater understanding of the Spanish culture. The almost 2 months I spent in Spain with Dr. Solares-Larrave and 13 other students were the most eye opening, unique, and incredible months of my life. I have been saying for the past few months that Spain stole my heart, and I can’t wait to go back. Having a knowledge of the world will benefit my greatly in the future, as well as encourage me to go back as soon as I can.
I plan to work in either international or medical sales when I graduate NIU. Whichever path I choose, my experiences at NIU will have greatly and aptly prepared me for it. My Marketing and Sales classes will prepare me for the tangible requirements of working in the real world, but my experiences in the McKearn Program and studying abroad will help me with the immeasurables, which are equally if not more important. I would like to thank everyone that has served as a mentor to me, and that has helped me out along the way. Specifically, I would like to thank Dr. and Mrs. McKearn for their foresight and generosity in the development of the McKearn Fellows Program, the entire McKearn staff, and everyone in the Honors and OSEEL offices that made it possible. I would additionally like to thank Drs. Bowers and Solares-Larrave for their encouragement and direct support of my studying abroad. Without these mentors, I would not have been able to accomplish what I have. I can only hope to one day do the same for future NIU huskies.


Create Your Own Success

Fellow Huskies,
If you are reading this, congratulations on your decision to attend NIU! You made one right choice in choosing NIU, and now it is up to you to make a second: to be successful. Success is not easily defined, as it can be subjective as happiness. Only you can say what success is. That being said, attending NIU will put you into a position to become successful, however it is defined.
Whether success for you is becoming involved, getting a 4.0, passing your classes, or being set up for a better future all starts from the same place: your demeanor. If you want to be successful, it will likely have to come from intrinsic motivation. If I was able to motivate everyone, I would in a heartbeat. Most motivation, however, comes from within you. The bottom line is if you want to be successful, it takes dedication, but you will be.
I started my college experience by getting very involved on campus. After tearing my ACL and meniscus halfway through my first semester, however, I had to shift my priorities from school and involvement to also include working through the pain and incredible inconveniences that my knee injury caused me. I was able to work through it all from the support of friends, professors, and the NIU community as a whole.
The NIU experience is much more than going to class and graduating. For me, success is taking advantage of everything that NIU has to offer and enjoy myself while doing it. This could range from research, to study abroad, to campus involvement, to jobs and internships, and also making sure to attend every football game I can. This is my definition, and I love it.
What’s yours?


Junior Year, 3rd Times a Charm

Hello! If you’re reading this, I hope you enjoy it. I’m Jeff Kamholz and this is my blog documenting my junior year at Northern Illinois University. I am a Marketing major with minors in Economics and Spanish and could not be more excited to get into my upper level business classes. I recently finished my Spanish minor- in Spain! This year will be the year that I start looking for an internship that could lead to the job I want. On top of the hope that the Cubs will make a miraculous late-season comeback, there is a lot going on in my life this year.

In beginning my third year at NIU, I am also beginning my second year as a Northern Lights Ambassador (NLA). I have the fortune of being the chair of the Alumni and Foundation Committee for the 2014-2015 year. I am looking forward to working with students and alumni and connecting them as part of the University’s plan for student career success. I am excited to serve as a liaison and representative of the students of NIU.

I was recently very fortunate enough to go on 2 study abroad programs, one to The Netherlands and the other to Spain. These experiences have only furthered my belief that NIU is the perfect place for me and that is has set me up for my future career not only in the business world, but also in life. I am extremely excited for this year and everything that it entails.



Dorm Life!

I moved into New Hall East, where the Honors House is located, last year and still live there. For me, “back in the day” is right now. I chose this option because I wanted to live in one of the Living, Learning Communities (LLCs). I was torn between the Honors and the Business House, but ended up opting for the Honors House mainly because it was in New Hall, which is like a hotel. New Hall is set up in “clusters”; basically 12 people share a common area, and have their own room, while sharing a bathroom with 1 other person. Having my own room is very convenient, even though it is a bit on the smaller side.

Living in New Hall ended up being a great decision for me. I met some of my best friends, and many of the people who would go on to be in my organizations. They got me involved in campus. I recommend anyone to live in new hall, as of the convenience of the facilities and the community-based set up. If I had to make a recommendation about where to live, I would recommend New Hall or the newly renovated Grant Tower. As traditional and classic as the other dorms and residence halls can be, I would recommend the newer ones; having a new building I think gives an overall better experience.

Sometimes, my cluster and I will just spend the whole day together. That is the beauty of the cluster format; if everyone is out, either hanging out, studying, or just being social it feels like a bonded group. If you need some time to yourself, your single room is the perfect place to which to retreat. About once a week, we will all set aside some time and go to Buffalo Wilds Wings, Aspen Leaf, or anywhere really; the most important aspect is that most of our cluster hangs out together. Many of us are in the same classes, which is very helpful for homework and studying.

Because of many of the positive experiences and fun I have had, it is likely that I may stay in the dorms all 4 years I am on campus. Not having to cook, clean, and worry about rent and other bill payments makes life easier- for me, life being easier is a great thing.



Random Acts of Kindness

Random acts of kindness are some of the most inspiring things that can be done. People with no motive doing something positive for someone else for no personal gain. There’s no reward, no publicity, and no motive other than to help others- truly awe-inspiring. International Random Acts of Kindness week is upon us (February 10-16), and I am hoping that with the I Heart NIU campaign underway that it will gain traction. If even the number of random acts of kindness increases by 1, it will all have been worth it. One act can change someone’s life for the better indefinitely.

I myself have actually been impacted greatly by the impact of a stranger. Last year I tore my ACL and was dealing with the DeKalbian winter in a knee brace and crutches- it was not pretty. I was post-surgery and crutching back to my dorm room from the bus stop when I slipped on the ice and fell. The pain itself was bearable, but the thought of getting up and having to try again and ending in futility. A random man came up and asked if I needed help. I took him up on his offer he picked me up with his bare hands (not an easy task) and helped me get situated with my crutches. He even carried by backpack back all the way to my dorm for me. Immediately after, he left. I never even found out his name and yet that simple act changed how I viewed strangers.

Since then, I have been trying to pay it forward. Whenever I am able, I try to help people that are in need. In what little free time I do have, I help out in the community with blood and food drives, and try to make it out to Feed’em Soup as much as I can. Although maybe not considered a “random” act of kindness, there is nothing better in the world than seeing the reactions of people being helped. Altruism is the reason that many people will stop going about their days to help others, or will donate their time, talent, and treasure just because.  

As for me, I just try to increase the number of smiles. The best way to do this? I’m not sure if number one, but random acts of kindness are definitely up there.



I heart NIU

I heart NIU because it has given me everything. Although I am only a sophomore, I have had a multitude of opportunities that have made my college experience incredible. One such opportunity was the McKearn Fellows Program, which allowed me to create and carry out my own research program. I was able to use this to create a nonprofit fundraising model, which I was then able to share with local nonprofits in a hope to improve their fundraising efforts. Being able to see my work put into practice was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.


I heart NIU because it has also helped me greatly plan out my future. Aside from being an NLA, I am also a TLC Peer Leader and a Marketing Intern for the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. Having this internship has affirmed my decision to go into marketing, be it interactive or sales (I am leaning toward sales). I also have had other opportunities, but the most promising one right now is looking like studying abroad this summer. I plan to go to Toledo, Spain to finish my Spanish minor as well as explorer another culture and go to the country that I have wanted to for years. If I am lucky, I am also hoping to go to China with the inaugural trip there with the Honors Program!


I heart NIU because it is more than just a school. It has become a second home for me. I have met friends and connections I will have for life, and I have no one but NIU to thank for that. I do not know exactly where the future will take me, but I do know one thing: my NIU education will prepare me for whatever lies ahead.