Chyna Bennett is a communicative disorders major from Chicago Heights, IL
Hometown: Chicago Heights, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2023
Major: Communicative disorders
What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I received an Honors Program waiver, AIM High FR Excellence Scholarship, Izzo-Inge Family Fund (21-22) and Foundation Impact Scholarship (21-22). I received these scholarships because of being in the Honors Program, because of the GPA I held coming into my freshman year in 2019, and because of the work I put into being a Huskie. Each year of my academic career I have received NIU scholarships, which has allowed me to stay in school. I would strongly encourage all students to apply as much and as soon as possible.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
I wanted to be an actress, then an orthodontist, then a speech-language pathologist, then an audiologist and then a teacher for the D/deaf and H/hard of hearing. Now, I have circled back to wanting to be a speech-language pathologist. It was a tough decision to make, but I know this is the right path for me. I have my mom and professors to thank for helping me figure out this part of my life.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major is communicative disorders with a minor in deafness. I decided on this major because of my mom. She has been my rock and helped me figure out where I have wanted to go in life since I was younger. She is my No. 1 supporter.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
The amount of people I have met and connected with. I didn't think I was going to be able to connect with anyone or make friends because orientation was rough for me, but I’ve since done a 180 turn and seen how much there is out there for me when I branch out.
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
Yes, I have! I am always connecting with people through my job as a community advisor (CA). It has allowed me to meet many new people and make several new friendships that I truly appreciate!
Are you involved in any student organizations, mentoring programs or extra-curricular activities? If so, which ones? How have they added to your experience as a Huskie?
I am involved in Signing Huskies as the vice president, First Year Composition Committee (FYCC) as the student advisor, Communicative Disorders Student Association (COMDSA) as a member, Forensics as a member and Cru as a member. These organizations have allowed me to make connections, learn who I am as a person, build my resume, gain experiences and have more memories and fun on NIU's campus!
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
The School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders has helped me to succeed as they have offered several great resources to students to ensure we’re successful in our academic careers.
What Honors Program opportunities or support have helped you get closer to your academic or career goals so far?
The Honors Program has supported me financially in more ways than I could imagine. As someone who needs financial support, the Honors Program has never failed to step in and help me in that regard, which has allowed me to stay focused on my academics and not feel stressed out about money.
What do you enjoy the most about the Honors Program?
I enjoy the connections I have made. The Honors Program has allowed me to make friends with common interests and goals and has pushed me to continue to work hard as a student. Additionally, the Honors Program has built a community of connections I’ll have for a lifetime, and I cannot wait to see how it grows over time.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
Professor Hoffman. Since my freshman year, he has been someone who has looked out for me in so many areas, including mentally and emotionally. He always made sure I was okay and checked up on me. He took the time to be himself and build a relationship with his students. He catered to his audience and made sure we understood. He’s a very genuine professor who students should take if they ever get the chance. I'll always be grateful for the ways he's helped me through the years.
How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
I have benefited from making great connections with my classmates and my professors. By knowing my classmates, it has helped me to not feel alone when classes have become hard. By knowing my professors and having a relationship with them, it has allowed me to have several great opportunities that I could never have seen coming, such as First Year Composition Committee (FYCC), letters of recommendation and being able to speak in their other classes.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
The rock garden by Reavis Hall. It's so calming and peaceful. Many people on campus don't know about it but it is truly a "magical" place to be. It just allows your mind to go to another place for a few moments, which is great.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
Understand that if you don't know who you are before college, you should begin that journey. Don't go into college not knowing who you are or what drives you. Then, you should know yourself inside and out by the end of your college career, and it will be the best feeling, I can tell you that!
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
I have learned to change the way I view the world and everything in it. I have learned to not think of everything as so black and white. College has allowed me to learn to think in a gray area of sorts and how to work with that, and I am forever grateful for it.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I enjoy doing a couple of things. I spend time with the Lord, play with my dog, practice my language skills or simply go back to basics with a nice day of Netflix and time with friends and family!