‘Last lecture’ professor knows some ingredients to recipe of life

By Shaun Zinck

In NIU professor Chris Jones‘ mind, he wasn’t the ideal candidate to give a “last lecture.”

The last lecture series asks the speaker to talk about what matters most to them, acting as if it were their final message they could relay to others.

Jones, associate professor of political science and the chair of the department, talked to the members of Mortar Board Wednesday night about the “10 plus things about life he was glad he learned before it was too late.

“I wouldn’t say I have the full recipe but I do know some of the ingredients,” Jones said.

The first tip Jones gave was to have the courage to be yourself.

“There’s different ways to look at this,” Jones said. “Many times you know the answer and it’s reflected in your core values.”

One of the tips that stuck with alumna Anna Stopa was establishing a relationship with a senior citizen.

Stopa said it made her think of her grandparents that live in another country and that she wanted to visit them.

Jones said while the circumstances may change older generations like grandparents experienced many of the same challenges students are facing today when they were younger.

“They just didn’t have Facebook,” he said.

Senior biology major Hilary Coulombe said she took away the theme of never giving up.

“He really talked about all those things you don’t start to think about until you’re over 40,” Coulombe said.

Other tips Jones told the crowd were to pursue a career they would happiness in, be a teacher no matter what the career path, be a global citizen and have a good sense of humor.

“You have to get up everyday and do something; It might as well be something you love to do,” Jones said.

Finding role models that are not friends was another tip Jones gave students. Jones said friends can often sugarcoat advice when often times the straight forward answer is the best.

Lindsey McKinney, vice president of scholarship for Mortar Board, said Jones’ lecture was very encouraging.

“He encompassed all the words of wisdom he could and he did it in an hour,” McKinney, a senior biology student, said.

Editor’s Note: Anna Stopa and Lindsey McKinney are former employees of the Northern Star.