Best ways to manage your return back on campus


Patrick Murphy | Northern Star

Counseling and Consultation Services, among other student resources, is located in the campus Life Building on the second floor.

By Yari Tapia

Hey Huskies,

I want to give all students a fresh warm welcome to NIU to new and transfer students. It’s not easy coming back to school after COVID-19 nearly put all our lives on pause. As a fellow transfer student, it definitely wasn’t a smooth transition for me. When I felt I had nowhere else to turn to, NIU student resources were there for me, and they’ll be there for you too!

Mental health is so important when it comes to student success. Even though I had a lot of time during quarantine, it was something I let slip away. I felt so trapped within my own mind and without anyone to turn to. I don’t enjoy being vulnerable, and I loved the feeling of anonymity at Counseling and Consultation Services.

No one knew who I was, and no one knew any of my background; they were just there, ready to listen and help as best they could.

“Our mission is to provide mental health services to NIU students to help them support their academic, personal, and future goals,” Tim Paquette, director of Counseling and Consultation Services, said. “We provide the first point of contact. The opportunity for students to meet with one of our counselors, talk more about their specific concerns and their goals around their mental health concerns, so that we can help them get connected to services to meet those needs and goals.”

During COVID-19, CCS was able to connect with students via telehealth. Personally, it was nice to talk to someone through the comfort and privacy of my own home. I’m an ugly crier, so I feel better about crying on the phone versus crying in person. 

Not to say all my struggles were mental health-related, and I always suffered emotional breakdowns, but we’re all living in very unprecedented times.

Transferring to NIU during the first all-online semester was difficult, to say the least. I had never taken a 300-level class before, and I’m pretty sure there was a professor who I never found out what he looked like. 

It’s difficult to be in what was supposed to be a “socially academic environment” when almost the entire social aspect is taken out of it. I can see why I saw, and even experienced, burnout, stress, and overall lack of motivation. 

It’s been over a year since most of us have attended in-person classes. During the pandemic, there were plenty of times that I’d questioned my own study habits, note-taking skills, etc. It’s not something that I’m too concerned about going into the fall semester because I know that tutoring services have got my back. 

Tutoring services are launching a system in the Fall 2021 semester where students can log in with their Z-IDs and access NIU tutors from multiple subjects, said Gail Jacky, director of the Huskie Academic Support Center.

I know it’s not always seen as “cool” to get help with school, but honestly, nothing is worth more than your wellness, and conveniently, these resources are free.

“It’s really hard to admit that you might not be doing college as well as you thought,” Jacky said. “We’re here to support students, that’s why we are here because we want to help them understand and develop those skills that maybe they don’t really know.”

All I can say is it’s really important to take care of yourself. That’s something I learned throughout this past year. I’m doing much better now, and I’m proud to say that I allowed NIU to be a part of my healing process. Anyway, thank you for coming to my TED Talk. Have a great year, Huskies.