Tomas S.: Go Abroad!

At Northwestern there are many different opportunities for people that want to study abroad as part of their college experience. With more than 130 different study abroad partnerships around the globe, there is an experience for every type of student.  I had the opportunity to study abroad in Berlin over the summer, and I will be doing it again in Hong Kong next fall. Although not too many people study abroad twice, going abroad during your junior year is pretty common for a NU student.

Northwestern has two primary offices that offer study abroad programs: the International Program Development Office and the Study Abroad Office. Most programs are exchange opportunities offered through a partner school where Northwestern students are able to register as regular students at the university of their desired location. There are also specially designed programs taught by Northwestern faculty overseas. One of them is the Berlin program that I attended this past summer. During the almost 2 months that we spent there, we had the opportunity to take classes taught by Northwestern faculty in Berlin and by local professors from Humboldt University. During my time there, I took an international economic law class that explored the modern free trade agreements system. Also, I had the opportunity to do some short weekend-long trips to Hamburg, Copenhagen and Potsdam with other Wildcats in the program.

Studying abroad is definitely one of the highlights of my experience at Northwestern. The opportunity to travel with your friends to a foreign country and spend time learning about culture and language is something that everyone should do. The opportunity allows you to broaden your perspective both academically and culturally.

Being a Northwestern students opens up many different opportunities while you are on campus from interesting classes, to research opportunities and summer internships. However, studying abroad is the only experience that will enrich your college experience in ways that you can’t even imagine around the world. GO ABROAD!

Teresa: Marketing as a Wildcat

This quarter I am starting a journey that I hope will become one of the most impactful so far at Northwestern. As a Communication Studies major, I often get lost in the world of “what is communications” and “how do you study that?” The great thing about the majors in the School of Communications is that really, they can mean anything. For me, I have decided to take my studies into the realm of business through marketing. With that, I am pursuing the Integrated Marketing Communications Certificate through the Medill School of Journalism (try not to get too caught up in the names, anybody can do it- shoutout to One Northwestern).

While finding marketing experience has been pretty easy, this year I discovered something very specific to NU. Form and Function Marketing (F&F for short) is a student group for those who love the world of advertising. With this club, members are sorted into different client groups to help market companies in the Evanston area. Basically, it works exactly like an advertising agency. The groups get to explore market research, design skills, and account management through projects with the client as well as come together each week to discuss industry news in regards to the marketing world.

This is a great opportunity for anyone who joins to get a look at how the marketing industry works, but more importantly, it’s a lot of fun. I am in the midst of working with my first client, who owns a taco restaurant, a joint for Asian cuisine, and a luxurious spot for fine dining. Through this experience, I will be learning exactly how to make the best possible marketing choices for the company. The students who work alongside me will also become huge parts of my professional and social growth.

While I’m extremely jazzed for this particular student group, I’ve found it important up until this point to seek out similar opportunities through other organizations. Sometimes, getting into a club at Northwestern can be competitive, but a lot of the time you can find similar wonderful experiences elsewhere. When it came to marketing, I first explored with joining the Public Relations Committee for our day of service, getting involved with outreach for my sorority, and working in the admissions office to run social media. It turned out that while I was on the waitlist for F&F, I learned first hand that Northwestern has multiple places for students to pursue their interests. At NU, no matter what you love, you can find a way to do it.

Sam S.: Learned On-Campus, Applied Off-Campus

My first year at Northwestern, I discovered a student group named Seesaw Theatre that opened me up to thinking about accessibility in the arts. Seesaw’s mission is to create multi-sensory theatre for students with developmental differences and on the autism spectrum.

I’ve always loved the pitch black, quiet space of a theater during a play or musical. When I came to campus and got involved with Seesaw, I quickly became friends with others who helped me see things from a new perspective: that very same dark and silent auditorium which I find cozy can be an uncomfortable experience for many others, and I began to learn that there are countless ways to engage in art.

Through Seesaw, I worked with my peers on creating art that does not depend on an individual’s ability to sit quietly in a dark space for hours in order to digest art. Instead, Northwestern’s Seesaw creates shows that involve all senses – taste, smell, touch, sight, and listening. Audiences can choose when and to what extent they want to be involved in the show.

Northwestern has over 500 student organizations that range from our Happiness club to countless philanthropic organizations. As students, we are always being engaged with programing on campus. But for many students like myself, working on-campus was just the beginning. At a networking event sponsored by EPICS (External Programs, Internships, & Career Services), I was able to meet Jacqueline Russell, founder of Red Kite, the professional program on which Seesaw is based. We discussed her work with Red Kite including a new production being created for vision-impaired audiences.

This spring, I’ll be working with Jacqueline to help generate material for her new show. Four years ago, I didn’t know much about accessibility in the arts, but Northwestern’s eternally inquisitive student body has created a campus full of learning opportunities for students to expand our understanding of the world around us.

While on campus, don’t be afraid to dig into those experiences around you. What starts as simply attending an informational meeting can soon turn into a passion, and with Chicago just down the road, you’ll always be able to put that passion to the test.

Casey: Career Pressures and Spring Break

When you’re a junior in college, there’s no shortage of things to be stressed about. Midterms, finals, a summer internship, a summer grant, what classes you’ll take next quarter, which quarter you can graduate after, and what role you want to fill in your extracurricular the next year. And Northwestern is no exception, especially with an entire round of finals before spring break. As winter quarter wraps up, we go through a reading week and a finals week, finishing up a set of classes. At the same time, we’re applying for summer jobs, internships, and grants, and going to information sessions, career fairs, and mock interviews. Especially when you’re an upperclassman, the pressure to make career advances and land internships can be almost as overwhelming as academic pressures.

With all of these pressure and deadlines colliding, it can start to seem like if you don’t spend spring break studying for your MCAT, interviewing with corporations, writing a thesis, or visiting grad schools, you’re doing something wrong.

However, I’ve come to find decompressing, de-stressing, and sleeping for a solid week surrounded by family and friends can be just as productive as spending a week working on your career options. As a junior, spring quarter will be my 9th at Northwestern, and I honestly worry about becoming burned out.  I am still applying for summer internships, jobs, and grants, but I’m finishing most of my applications before the quarter ends, and then I’m spending spring break at home.

I’ll be spending spring break with my family in Louisiana. I’ll play cards with my dad, hang out with my younger brother who just started being able to drive, watch Jimmy Fallon with my mom, and we’ll work on fixing up my uncle’s new house as a family. We’ll go to the Irish-Italian parade – a New Orleans St. Patrick’s Day tradition that’s the closest I can get to a real Mardi Gras parade while I’m in college. And then, my mom and I will drive over to Pensacola, Fla., and spend a couple of days at the beach reading, playing cards, and walking through the sand.

And I am ridiculously excited to wake up early and sit on a balcony out by the beach with my morning cup of coffee and a good book, watching for dolphins. In the midst of finals, Northwestern students can sometimes take the fact that we’ll never have spring break homework for granted, but when college life can be so hectic, I’m grateful to have a week free from required readings, research papers, and online chemistry homework. The fact that we can have restorative spring breaks centered around doing whatever makes us happy and taking care of ourselves is a quarter system perk I would encourage no one to take for granted.

Sam E.: Sports Culture at Northwestern

I will probably never forget a conversation I had with my uncle in the summer months before applying to college. I listed Northwestern as my top choice, and his response was predictable. Knowing I am a sports fan, my uncle questioned me why I would pick Northwestern over a school known more specifically for their athletic prowess, citing a bowl draught in football and status as one of the only schools to never make the NCAA tournament. I explained that Northwestern was in the Big Ten, and even if Northwestern never won a game during my scholarly tenure, I would at the least have gotten to see some Big Ten athletics. As my fourth and final year comes to an end, I have begun to truly appreciate the Northwestern athletics experience.

It’s always fun to cheer on a winning team, and for that reason, this year in particular has been amazing to be a fanof Northwestern sports. In the fall, our football team qualified for the postseason, and went on to win the Pinstripe Bowl in late December. Many students went to the game, courtesy of Northwestern. I was unfortunately not able to actually attend the game, but I was drowning in happiness as I cheered on the Wildcats against Pittsburgh in the company of my friends who have frequently bantered me about Northwestern sports. In addition to our football team, fans at Northwestern have been spoiled by our basketball team this season. As the ‘Cats entered the Big Ten regular season games, there was a buzz around campus that this could be the year we finally make the NCAA tournament. As the buzz grew, the student section grew bigger and rowdier, and it was at the final game at Welsh-Ryan arena that I finally learned why going to Northwestern sports events was so fun.

Sports bring people together, but it wasn’t until we really started winning that fans truly began to come in bunches. When we all are jumping up and down during a good run by the Wildcats or trying to distract an opponent’s free throw shooter, you can’t help but notice the unity of our student community. We all work together to support our community. People from different majors, different backgrounds, unique passions, all coming together to cheer on our university. I said it before, but cheering for a winning team is easy. Cheering for a losing team can be tough, but I am confident that after all the success we’ve had this year, students will see how fun it is to cheer on the Wildcats together! Oh, and I forgot to mention another huge perk—tickets are free for students!

Teresa: The Truth about the Language Requirement

 

I still remember when I chose my fate. It was seventh grade and everyone in our middle school was required to learn a foreign language. While most of the kids in my grade decided on Spanish, my friends and I chose to exercise our need to be different and set out on our French journey. Since then, it’s been almost 8 years now of taking French every semester and every quarter. But as all things come to an end, this is my last week of French class ever.

While not every major has a language requirement, Communication Studies most definitely does. And for those of us who did not get AP credit, we enter into college continuing on our long road of conjugations, new vocabulary words, and movies with subtitles. At first, the idea of “wasting” a class block every quarter for a year sounded like maybe the worst thing ever, but I have to say that looking back, I’m going to miss some of the experiences I had fulfilling my language requirement at NU.

First off, I loved my professors. Every single one of them was wonderful and I even had a few twice. While they run the classes completely in French, they somehow manage to keep my mind from exploding. My favorite instructor, Professor Dempster, brightened my day even when I was navigating through a language I knew almost nothing about despite studying it through all of middle and high school. Her fun, bubbly personality made class interesting.

Outside of class, French opened the door for a few interesting cultural experiences. Because we were required to go to two language events per quarter, I found myself doing things on campus that I otherwise would not have even thought about. I attended panels on the use of foreign language in the workplace. I spent time in Allison Hall eating free food while practicing my French with other students, professors, and native speakers. I even enjoyed going to the Block Museum on campus, where they screened French films each quarter through the Ciné-Club. While I showed up to fulfill a requirement, I always found myself laughing, crying, and overly invested in what was happening on screen.

The best part of the past year and a half of French, however, has been my classmates. Because I take most of my classes within my major and certificate program, I rarely have distribution classes with the same people. French was the exception. I am finishing this quarter with the same people who sat in class with me on my very first day of Freshman Year. Throughout our time together, I have gotten to meet students of all majors and find out more about their specific Northwestern experiences. My little French family has reminded me of what interesting and inspirational people I get to work with every day.

While I may not have a fabulous French accent, I have to say that coming out of my language classes I have gained much more than I expected. New friends, cultural immersion, and a colorful community of speakers made “The Language Requirement” not so bad after all.