I decided to go to Northeastern Illinois University because I heard it was similar to the College of Lake County (CLC). CLC is small, diverse, and in many ways, its own small community. NEIU was a bigger version of that. It is smaller than a bigger university, and diverse and close knit. I can join different clubs and be an active member in my community. I can use studios whenever and students always try to help each other out.
What does “identity” mean to you?
Identity is something I struggle/struggled with. Struggled with because I believed my identity had to correlate with things I liked or wanted. For example, I like pop-punk music, thus I would have to dress like an emo. But I realized that things I like do not make my identity. Identity, to me, is knowing what you like, what you stand for and what makes you “you.” I can like pop-punk music and enjoy wearing skirts. I can like following rules, but also fighting ones I do not believe are right. That is who I am. That is my identity.
What are you grateful for?
I am grateful to be capable to help others that struggle with mental health. My struggle with mental health prevented me from understanding my own potential. Being able to be stable and functional to help others is what gives me purpose and validation that life is worth it.
Fifteen years from now, when you think back to your time at NEIU, what moment, person or feeling will stay with you?
If I were to look back at NEIU in 15 years, I would think of the great memories I have of friends I made and the professors who influenced me. Professors like Nate Mathews and Lori Cuevas are big reasons students succeed. They care about their students and will go out of their way to help their students out. The feeling NEIU gives is home. I met the most diverse people at NEIU and made great friends. Being at NEIU is an experience I will never forget.
Have you ever learned something about yourself that surprised you?
Although negative events or health issues occurred in my life, I realized that my resilience is a lot stronger than I thought. Any issues in my way, I can persevere.
What is a good piece of advice you’d like to share?
A little support to someone else goes a long way. Something as simple as smiling to someone you pass by can make a difference. With that being said, one individual can make a difference. I will never stop going out of my way to do things for others because I know that little bit of support could have been the one bit of validation they needed. At times, it’s what I needed.