Huskie Minute – December 5, 2013

Dear Huskie Family Connections Member!

The following Huskie Minute features a few updates, events, and helpful tips to assist you and your student in having a safe and enjoyable fall semester. Beginning with the 2013 -2014 newly entering student group, ALL NIU families will begin receiving the Huskie Minute. Welcome to the Huskie Family!

In this issue



Finals week can be difficult for both the student and the family. Here are some ways to help:

  • Reassure your student that this time may be stressful and challenging, but that you are there to support him or her.
  • Avoid placing too much emphasis on college grades. The first semester is perhaps the hardest in terms of academic adjustment.
  • Offer encouragement by sending a “care package,” card, text message, or e-mail. Brief, strategically timed phone calls can also bolster a student’s spirit during finals week. Yes, phone calls are becoming a thing of the past, but there's nothing like the sound of a loved one's voice when things get tough!
  • Students can access fall semester grades online approximately the third week in December. If your student has met his/her academic goals, this is a time for celebration. If your student wants to improve his or her academic performance in the spring semester, discuss how this can be accomplished through the use of NIU resources such as tutoring, the Writing Center, the Math Lab, the Office of Student Academic Success, and meeting with an academic advisor.
  • Most students enjoy their much-needed winter break at home, but don’t be surprised if your student is eager to return to the campus in January to begin a new semester and see friends. Take this as a positive sign that your student has made a successful transition to Northern. 


As the end of the first semester approaches, students are preparing for final exams and assignments. Your student will soon be home for his or her five-week winter break. This is an important time for reconnecting with family and friends.

The student who returns may be different from the one that you sent off to college in August. At home, there also have been changes during the past four months. It’s important to remember that students keep their own schedules on campus. Over break, they may want to sleep late in the morning and get together with friends late in the evening. Some students also work over the winter break to help finance their college education. Your schedule and your student’s may be quite different. It may be helpful to talk about expectations and family responsibilities at the start of this extended vacation. For further information about the transition home, please see the Fall 2013 Huskie Family Connections quarterly newsletter, the In Touch. You can find it at

MAC Championship

It is MAC championship week at NIU, as they head to Detroit on Friday, Dec. 6th to face off against the Bowling Green Falcons. NIU was the first Mid-American Conference team to make it to the BCS last season and are on the cusp of being invited to a BCS bowl game again this year! Currently ranked at No. 14 in the BCS standings, NIU also meets the requirements to be invited to a non-BCS conference bowl game. While NIU hasn’t reached the top 12 quite yet, they have played an undefeated regular season, increasing their chances of ranking in the top 12. Crashing the BCS last year, the Mighty Huskies set another all-time record this year by being the first ever MAC team to defeat two Big Ten schools in one season! With an NIU win against the Bowling Green Falcons, we will go to a BCS Bowl Game! Way to go Huskies! 

Find the Zealous Fan

If you or your student will be cheering on the Mighty Huskies in Detroit, look for a very enthusiastic Huskie fan wearing a Huskie Family Connections t-shirt. Clues to her whereabouts in the stadium have been posted to the Huskie Family Connections Face book page.  Find her and you will receive a voucher to pick up a bag 'o HFC fun from Student Involvement & Leadership Development,  Suite 150 in the Campus Life Building.

Finals Week Care Packages

There's nothing like a care package from home to energize, encourage, and support your student. Check out the HFC web page for details about the sweet somethings available from our business partner, Simple Sweets. 

Are you up for an opportunity for a great cross-cultural exchange?

NIU has a large number of international students, many of whom have never experienced the American tradition of Winter Holiday Season. It would be great if you could encourage your NIU student to invite an international student to celebrate the holidays in your home. I learned about the wonderful traditions and values of this country by getting to know families living in the USA and I hope our international students at NIU can have such an experience.  This cultural exchange has also helped me do my job better as a Psychologist at the Counseling & Student Development Center at NIU where we offer a safe space for students to talk about things weighing on their hearts or minds. The benefits of getting to know one another are endless!

If you are interested in cross cultural exchanges or education in the future please email me at

Shiraz Tata, Ph.D., Counseling & Student Development Center, NIU.

HFC wishes to extend gratitude to Dr. D. Rode for her contributions to the Huskie Minute.

Dance Like Everyone's Watching

HFC sends a congratulatory shout-out to NIU's Panhellenic community. The Panhellenic Council hosted its first Dance Marathon at Northern Illinois University this year. The sororities raised $34,761.26 for the Lurie's Children's Hospital of Chicago.

Parents Health 101

Have you checked the most recent edition of the online magazine? Stay healthy for the Holidays!

Parents Association Endowed Scholarship

Applications will soon be accepted for the Parents Association Endowed Scholarship. Students of junior level status, good academic record, and a history of demonstrated leadership skills are invited to apply. The application will soon be online. Letters of reference are required, so encourage your student to begin thinking of individuals who may be asked to write a letter of recommendation. Application deadline is 2/14/14. The one time monetary award of approximately $1,200 will be given at the Kevin D. Knight Leadership Awards Ceremony in April of 2014. We'll keep you posted. Keep watching for online activation.

Important Dates:

Fall classes end    12/7

Finals week  12/9 – 12/14

Fall undergraduate commencement   12/15

Spring Classes Resume 1/13

Marten Luther King Jr Day (Campus Closed) 1/20


Final Note

If you prefer to have this information sent to a different email address or to remove your name from our mailing list, please notify the HFC staff at or by calling 815-753-4444.