At this time three years ago, I was preparing to start college at NIU. I was a month away from moving into a residence hall for the first time, beginning intimidating college classes and saying goodbye to everything I had ever known. I was a bundle of nerves and excitement. There was a new living space to design and make my own along with a very stressful array of classes I had to prepare for. I was going to have to wake myself up and give myself enough time to get ready and take the HuskieBus to whatever DuSable was and some place on the other side of campus called the Psychology Building.
“Left is for leaving class,” was a catch phrase I learned to remember to take the 2L back to my residence hall, unless you were heading to the Psychology Building, then take the 2R for a shorter ride.
These were minor worries I had to manage, and now, first-year students this year may have no idea what I am talking about. Their worries will be “set an alarm for the zoom call,” or “try to focus with my parents and dog running in the background.”
I’m sure it is not at all what you expect or want your college to be. This is the time you are supposed to be on your own. When you can walk through campus avoiding the geese and excitedly awaiting Mission on Mission Mondays. This should be the time when you embrace being a Huskie while seeing Huskie Stadium outside your bedroom window.
But I can promise you, you will still feel the Huskie Pride that fills NIU.
During the COVID-19 quarantine of the Spring 2020 semester, classes were shifted to be completely online, but I never lost that feeling of being a Huskie. With every email and update, there was still a sense of community. My professors understood we were all missing the in-person interaction that connected us all.
I know it might seem cliche to say that Huskie Pride and community runs through our veins, but it is true. I have fallen in love with NIU and being a Huskie from the moment I filled out my application.
Your experience will be monumentally different. I have no idea what you could possibly be thinking or worrying about. But come into it with an open mind. Things can change rapidly or slowly, but one day you will be able to finally come to campus and be showered with Huskie spirit. You will meet Mission and Mini Mission. For now, we have to connect from afar but we are here with you and for you. You will be able to “plant your paws” at NIU as we all have. Because we always move Forward, Together Forward.