#PeopleofNIU Photo by Danielle Guerra/Institutional Communications
Hometown: Glenwood, IL
Hometown: Glenwood, IL
Are you attending NIU on any scholarships? Which one(s)?
I have been incredibly lucky to receive several scholarships from NIU and affiliated donors. Among them are the Joseph Harry Endowed Scholarship, the John C. and Judith M. Gurley Endowed English Scholarship, the Forward Together Forward Scholarship and the Austin Sawicki Memorial Scholarship.
How did you learn about NIU, and why did you choose to attend?
I chose NIU because it was the most feasible due to location and price.
Are you involved in any activities at NIU? What else do you do for fun/hobbies in your spare time?
I am a community advisor, a member of National Residence Hall Honorary and the treasurer of Prism. In my free time I like to watch TV with my girlfriend and play video games.
What has been your favorite event at NIU, and why?
My favorite event at NIU is Take Back the Night. TBtN is a nationwide event with marches against sexual violence, and every year it is so empowering.
What do you like about our campus and community?
I always tell people it is a big campus with a small-campus feel.
What has your experience inside the classroom been like at NIU?
I have been lucky to have professors that are experts in their fields, as well as empathetic, thoughtful and civically engaged scholars.
What is something you have experienced at NIU that you will be able to take with you into future endeavors in your field?
I have gained the best friends I could have ever imagined here at NIU. They have helped me develop my values and understand myself better, and in my professional future I know I will draw on all their friendships have taught me.
Would you recommend NIU to others and why? What’s a general piece of advice you’d give to someone starting college?
I would absolutely recommend NIU to anyone because I feel the faculty and staff really want to see you succeed and accomplish your goals. I would tell students starting college to get involved, and always be kind and open-minded.
What is up next for you after your time at NIU? Any career aspirations you would like to share?
Next year I will be pursuing my master’s in higher education to hopefully work in university housing or conduct. I want to make university policy intersectional, thoughtful and rehabilitative. One day, I’d like to go to law school here at NIU.
What is your favorite place to hang out in the DeKalb area and why?
There are a few. My friends and I frequent the restaurant Jamrah on the DeKalb/Sycamore border. That place is the best. I also go see a movie at the AMC at least once a week. Finally, my favorite date spot is Tapa La Luna. The food is amazing.
Do you have a life motto or any words you live by?
My 4-year-old nephew always introduces himself like this: “My name is Tristan, and I am the fastest and the strongest.” His confidence inspires me, and sometimes I have to remind myself that I am the fastest and the strongest, too.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced?
I think I am in an ongoing battle to be the best version of myself possible, which includes acknowledging who I am in this world, who I am to my peers and who I am to myself. This requires dedication to continuously leave my comfort zone for the betterment of myself and my impact on this world.
Margaret Hitchcock, a May 2019 graduate, was a finalist for the 2018 Lincoln Laureate Award.