Featured Adult Learner: Lidia Sonthipanya

Lidia Sonthipanya is a commuter, student parent, an adult learner and transfer student from Harold Washington College. Before arriving at NIU, she worked for 20 years in the early child education field. She is working towards getting her bachelor's in Science in Child Development. She wants to have a higher paying career to help better provide for her family. The degree she is seeking will help further her career. Currently, she works as a consultant for an early child education organization and works part-time in retail. As you can imagine, she is super busy!

Lidia lives in Aurora, IL, she chose NIU because of the close distance. More importantly, NIU was highly recommended by a friend. Lidia saw her friend's posts about her NIU experience. Her friend recommended NIU because it was the best financial choice, distance was good and knew other people who have attended NIU. NIU has a good reputation among Lidia’s network of friends and family. She appreciated that the application process was streamlined and the faculty and staff were welcoming.

Her advice to post-traditional students is to get to know people. Say hi to her! The first step to succeed at NIU is to say hello. Students need to network to learn about events, to seek help, find resources and create the social support necessary to succeed. For example, if you miss class you can text the student you sat next to in your class because you have already introduced one to the other. She also advises commuters is to arrive early to campus and use the resources available for commuters. The commuter lounge is perfect to come to in between classes to relax, eat or print class assignments. Lidia says Jeff is there if you need help. He either knows the answer or knows who to ask. Lidia loves reading, Harry Potter, running and spending time with her family.

Fun Fact: Lidia is passionate about immigration and minority issues. She also used to be a Zumba instructor in Chicago.

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