Tyler Hayes

Tyler Hayes

#PeopleofNIU Photo by Danielle Guerra/Creative Services

Hometown: Peoria, IL

Major: Kinesiology

Why did you choose NIU?
It felt like home right when I got here. I’m paying for college on my own and everyone here has been so supportive. My instructors, the scholarship office, they really helped me out because I make the grades and they want to keep me here.

How have the faculty and staff at NIU been helpful?
They've been the best advocates for me. Talking to me, helping out with scholarship information, just giving me encouraging words. It was a really rough time for me especially my freshman year, it's really hard paying for school on your own. I had a 3.9 (GPA) coming out of my first semester and the scholarship office has helped me find additional funding.

How did you become interested in kinesiology and sports management?
I've played sports my whole life, I was a volleyball player my entire life. When I first got here I wanted to play volleyball but I found rugby instead. Sports have always been an outlet for me. I've had a rough life and getting out of the house and going to play sports was what I needed. My rugby teammates now are like my sisters. I love them and they know everything about me. They are such a good support system for me.

Have you been surprised by anything here at NIU?
Expect the unexpected. I came here thinking that I would just go through these four years and not really get to do anything. Didn't think I'd get to play sports. It's just been amazing the number of people who have been so welcoming. I didn't expect to get so much support from my teammates and my instructors, I just didn't expect it. Even all the students I take classes with, we are all in this together and we're all here to get an education. We care about each other.

What things have you been doing to prepare for graduation in May?
I've been looking at internships and after that, I plan on going to Georgetown to get my masters in sports industry management. I'm really excited.

What is among your favorite memories here at NIU?
The orientation program. I was an orientation leader and then an orientation coordinator for two years. That office is absolutely amazing they are like my second family. Just being able to welcome the incoming students because NIU has done so much for me and giving back has been an amazing opportunity for me because I want people to love it here just like I do. I want people to know that the faculty and the staff here care about the students, and that's one of the things I like most about NIU. They keep me going.

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