Aside from just being a place where I take classes and will obtain a degree in May, NIU has become so much more to me. I have had incredible experiences, made lifelong friends, and set myself up to launch my career after graduation. However, in this post, I want to speak about one specific instance that helped me come to realize that NIU is a second home to me.
When I was a freshman, I joined several clubs and organizations right off the bat. I also tried to maintain a workout schedule on top of classes and my other extra curricular activities. I was playing football with friends between Grant and Stevenson towers, and I ended up hurting my knee. After several doctor and a hospital visit, it was concluded that I had torn my ACL and meniscus in my left knee. Basically, I needed surgery and then 6 months of rehab at minimum. As this occurred during my first 8 weeks of school, it was a bit overwhelming.
Also during this time, I was in the process of joining the professional business fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi, an organization from which I have made many of my closest friends. This required traveling back and forth between New Hall and Barsema Hall quite a bit- a 20-25 minute walk, or about 20 by bus if you can get lucky and catch it on time. During this time, I had to ask quite a few friends for rides to class and to physical therapy, located about 15 minutes off campus. It was then that I realized that many of these people whom I had just met were willing to do anything they could to help.
A few members of Delta Sigma Pi, as well as one of my closest friends from home and my current roommate drove me 2-3 times per week for about 18 weeks during the school year. I did not have a car on campus at this time, and I needed to be able to get back and forth between physical therapy. Between the 4 months of crutches, and 8 in a knee brace, the help and support I received from my then new-found family was incredible. There was even once when I slipped and fell on the ice, and someone I had never met before helped me up, and then carried all of my books to class for me. I never learned his name, but that memory will forever stay with me.
This is just one example of how I have seen Huskie Pride over the last 4 years. I could think of a dozen examples, but perhaps none more exemplify what I mean when I say that I Love NIU. I try to give as much back as I can now as a student, and I will continue to do so as an alumnus of the Department of Marketing, College of Business, and Northern Illinois University.