The Fresh Start!!

Prior to Northern Illinois University I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Being a first generation student I was scared and afraid to move on to college. I had no ones footsteps to follow or anyone to guide me through the process. My main concern as college came around was affordability. I was living with my older brother at the time, and my parents lived in Mexico. Not having my parents on my side was the most difficult part of all this process, I was basically on my own. As my senior year began I had no idea where I wanted to go to school. I was thinking community college first and then move on to a four year university. My dean, however, said to me you should try a four year university it will be a great experience and you will succeed I am sure. I began looking at good business school and my French teacher recommended NIU. I applied and shortly and was accepted. The big choices followed that acceptance letter, I then decide to accept and go to NIU. As I accepted then more and more decision came along, the main one was where I wanted to live. I wanted something less expensive due to financial troubles.

So I decided on Douglas Hall where I had a great experience, met many new friends which later became very good friends that I still keep in touch with today. The life at the residence halls was a great experience and recommend any college student to live in the residence halls. Living in the residence halls you learn many life experiences that would have not happened at home, you learn to become independent, learn to make decisions on both ends right and wrong and learn from those decisions. I feel like living at school on your own, it makes you become more aware of life and how it is to be alone and survive. It really is a great learning experience and it is the reason why I recommend students specially freshman to live in the residence halls, for the great learning experiences. My life in the residence halls, I made right and wrong decisions which I am proud of both because they have really shaped the person that I am today. Some recommendations that I have for students that are living in the residence halls is to live at the housing options where you can live with other students with the same majors. This way you can begin to network with people that are majoring in the same field and will continue the same journey that you will.

Acts of Kindness…

Throughout the years at Norther Illinois University I have seen various acts of kindness. The most simple acts of kindness can put a smile on someones face, which is awesome. The most common that I have see at NIU is opening the door for others, and picking up something someone else has dropped. I do these acts of kindness when the opportunity is there. I have seen this act of kindness from both students and professors here at NIU. Like I mentioned above I try to do these act of kindness as they show up. When I enter a building and if people are behind me I make sure to hold the door open so that they can enter the building. These are some acts of kindness that I have seen here at NIU!! Go Huskies! 

I <3 NIU because…..

…. I knew this was the place for me as soon as I came here! The atmosphere here at NIU was just what I was expecting. I began my college life at Douglas Hall, here I met some of my friends that I still keep in touch. I loved the way that the residence hall were set up and a bit jealous of how nice they are today compared to four years ago. I <3 NIU because of the way our football games are!! They are filled with students and fans! Its always awesome to see the stadium filled with people to support our HUSKIES!!

Being a business student I also <3 the College of Business!!! I love the facility that they have for us! The traditions that Barsema Hall are awesome and I love how all the students respect them. An example is no food or drinks besides water are allowed in any of the classrooms at Barsema Hall. The atrium is the only exception for drinks and food. I <3 NIU for having an awesome Latino Resource Center where I can go interact with fellow Latino/Latina students! 

As the year continues being involved on and off campus is always a great way to stay busy. Some of the things that I do to stay busy here at Northern Illinois University include: playing volleyball, going to sport events, going to campus events, late night study sessions at the library and being involved in the college of business. This semester has been a good one thus far, I have to say that I am very proud of my Intramural volleyball team for winning a championship for the second year in a row. I  was very proud because we faced a great team that had former D1 NIU volleyball players and men’s club players as well. Getting that win was great. On october 31st, I was part of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) event that took place at the Latino Resource Center. There we made altars for the someone famous that passed away. Each altar was made by three latino based organizations on campus. We put together an altar for Frida Kahlo a Mexican artist. The things on the altar represented Kahlo’s memories and how we remember her as a great person. In addition, on Monday the 11th I got to sit with Christy the advisor for the Finance Department at the College of Business for the Open House at Barsema Hall. There I talked to prospective students about the Finance Department and answered any questions regarding the Business Program or NIU. Off campus I volunteered for Rake Across DeKalb and really enjoyed helping out people in the community! I am currently looking forward to the volleyball matches this weekend and the football match coming up the 26th. Go HUSKIES!!!! 

Living off campus is great. I really like the fact that I have my own place and live on my own. However it can be unsafe at times. Last year I was living at an apartment complex where there was a shooting. It was very scary when I heard that there were guns fired right on our parking lot. It was not the people from out complex that did it but it was very scary when I heard about it. This leads to the safety of the campus. I felt unsafe at times last year when this incident happen. I was very careful when I would go out specially at night. Chief Phillips mentioned how they will put more police force in the off campus area. I think this is a great idea because it will make a safer campus. He mentioned things that we should do to be safe such as not walking around with your cellphone in plain view. It can be stolen by someone much easier. This really struct me because I had not thought about it the way the Chief explained to us. Now that I walk around campus specially if its dark I make sure that my phone is out of cite. When I go out I make sure I have friends with me to avoid walking alone. This advice is something that I have always done because seeing a group it will be harder for someone to steal from you. Along with that, when I go out I tend to look at my surroundings makings sure nothing seems weird. Making sure I am aware is important because sometimes our instincts can let us know when something is not right. These are things that I do to stay safe on campus. 

Mentorship in the community

A program that I am looking forward on participating is called “Creando Caminos” which in direct translation is creating road/bridge. The main objective of this program is to teach latino/a students at Huntley Middle School in DeKalb about college education. Basically Latino students through the Latino Resource Center partner up with these students to motivate them about school and obtaining a higher education! Meaning we are creating that road/bridge about going to school and how important it is. This is very important to me because, I wish someone would have done this when I was younger. I never really though about higher education. Everyone in my family and family friends did not see the importance about higher education so instead work was all they did. That was my mentality when I was growing up, until my high school years when a dean at my school saw potential in me. He mentored me about higher education and thanks to him today I am a HUSKIE! This idea is what “Creando Caminos” is achieving and building that road/bridge for Latino/a students here in DeKalb. 

An engaged Learning Opportunity is the Social Justice Conference that I will be attending Saturday, October 19th. This conference is not so much about the differences with in social issues but rather things that are common between many backgrounds and how we can use those similarities to grow together as a community. I am very excited to be part and learn through this Conference that I will be attending. 

Senior Year Starts at NIU

As I begin my Senior year at NIU I am really excited to have some really fun classes to look forward too. Completing my Minor my sophomore year leads to me taking some General Educations courses this year. I am really glad because I chose the right classes as far as General Education. I am currently taking EPFE 201 and Anthropology 102. So far this semester I have really enjoyed these classes because they are quite interesting learning about the early hominoids (early humans) in anthropology to learning about how 12% of all ER visit are due to concussions; about 47% of those involve children from 12 to 15 years old, in EPFE class.

Being a senior also means that I will dig deep into my major which is finance. I am taking Financial Process and Policy which involves looking at cases in the finance world and analyzing them. This class has already put my financial skills to work, one of the projects we are looking at is a case on Ben & Jerry’s. They are premium ice cream producer that had some financial problems about 14 years ago. They had some issue with the way shareholders where getting their moneys worth. By looking at this case I learned that Ben & Jerry’s was doing business correctly, it was who they had behind the scenes that was not so intriguing. Having control of most of the company the founders pretty much made decisions due to shareholder vote control and board of director control. This was something that we had to find a solution to as part of our case study. It was really interesting to see how companies can do this and shareholders know about it but still invest in companies. Working together on this case with a team, we decided that the internal problems we could not do much about. We had control over the external, so we had options on companies that could take over these problems and ultimately fix these issue. This class has really put cases and problems in front of me about the financial world. It was best for me to give this short example to give a little taste of what this class will teach me. Along with Financial Process and Policy, I am also taking a Treasury class. This class focus on getting us ready for the Certified Treasury Professional exam. It is an exam that is offered twice a year and tests finance students in the fundamentals of Treasury. Along with treasury, I am taking Cost Accounting class. This class is focused on the costs that go into a business. A big concept that we have already learned is Breaking Even, this is important because in business we don’t want to loose money. By having and creating formulas for different kinds of businesses and what We need to be sell to break even is key. This has taught me that one day I can solve these problems in the real wold.

So far I cannot complain about my classes. Having an extremely hard semester of going through Corporate Finance, Investments, and Banking all at the same semester I am ready to take on these classes. Learning much more not only in my major but also in Anthropology and Education.

First Day as an NLA

Omar Lazaro, Finance Major and Spanish Minor, Communications/First Year Experience Committee, Cary, IL. My family came from Mexico to the United States in 1997. Since I was nine, however, I stayed in the US while my parents live in Mexico.  Somethings that I enjoy include playing sports, watching movies, and visiting my family back in Mexico. 

I selected NIU because it was a school that offered a business program that was good, and at the same time affordable for me to attend. Being close to home is another reason because it was close enough to go home if needed. 

I wanted to be part of NLA because I want to be an example to other students here on campus, specially the first year students. I am really looking forward to meeting new students and impacting their lives in some way. I am also really looking forward to being active in the community this year. Last but not least, I am looking forward to the football games and graduation at the end of the spring semester. 

An experience that really stands out to me at NIU was being selected as one of the 32 students of the first Latino Honors Society on campus. This experience really has helped me be more involved in the Honors Society and the Latino community on campus.