Deja Harris is an English major from Zion, IL
Hometown: Zion, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2022
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’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I love reading and writing, so I decided to major in English and take the teacher licensure track.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major is English (educator licensure) and I have a certificate in women's and gender studies. I chose this course of study because I’ve never had an English teacher who didn’t positively impact my life in some way. I want to be that to someone else.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
I find that people are actually engaged and interested in each other. The people I meet here always surprise me with how kind and helpful they are.
How have you connected with other students virtually to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
At the beginning of class every semester, I try to start group chats so that we can help each other out. I honestly view my classmates as resources, and we have all helped each other learn and grow.
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’m a tutor for the writing workshop, but before that I was a TEACH House leader. That experience was amazing because I got to help students become accustomed to NIU’s environment and connect them to the College of Education. I loved that we all had a love for education. It was such a great community, and I’m grateful to have had that experience.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
One of my favorite professors is Professor Nicole Clifton. I’m currently taking her Arthurian literature course, and she makes every assignment so interesting. I actually feel like each assignment adds so much to my understanding of the text. She focuses a lot on discussion and has exciting methods to keep us interacting during class.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus is the second floor of Founders Memorial Library near the windows. I always get so much work done when I sit in that area. I love how quiet and peaceful it is.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
Do what you think is right for yourself. You’ll get a ton of advice from college grads and current college students, but no one knows you better than you do. Don’t choose a major that you’re not genuinely interested in, and keep an open mind!
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Studying in college is so much different than studying in high school. I think I winged it more in high school whereas in college I actually have to have structured study time. Keeping a schedule has really helped me.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I play with my dog as soon as I get home from class. It’s nice to know that the only things she stresses about are startling noises and plastic bags. Really puts things into perspective.
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