Tieara McLaren is a health sciences major from Chicago, IL
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Year: Expected graduation: May 2023
Major: Health sciences
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
As a child, my answer to this question changed a lot. I often said I wanted to be a nurse. As a young adult, I even considered becoming a math teacher, but that quickly changed. I now know that I don't have to have a single career. I do want to be a nurse, amongst other things. My major is health sciences (intended nursing) with a minor in deafness.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major is health sciences with a minor in deafness. I also want to pursue a minor in finance. I want to become a nurse anesthetist or travel the world practicing medicine as a registered nurse. I'm minoring in deafness because I've always been fascinated by American Sign Language. I aspire to acquire a minor in finance because I enjoy math and I'm interested in learning how to manage money.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
I would say the people. I'm a bit of a loner, but I was able to meet people I genuinely appreciate. My freshman experience was terrible. I even considered transferring. But my sophomore year, I met people who made campus feel like home. Meeting them changed my perspective about NIU and my future on campus. I was able to meet people who made me feel understood and supported.
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?
During my sophomore year, I was part of the Black Student Union on campus. I'm also a community advisor on campus.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
The most memorable instructor I have had was Mrs. Faye. She taught my English 101 class the first semester of my freshman year. I really was having a rough time, so I appreciated her kindness and positive attitude. It was really helpful, especially since it was my first class of the day. Another favorite instructor of mine is Derrick Smith. I was able to get to know Mr. Smith through the Black Student Union. He's very easy to talk to and could relate to the things I was feeling. I haven't taken a class with him, but he's an instructor at the Center for Black Studies.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
Neptune Central right next to the fireplace. I spent so much time there, either working on assignments or simply taking a nap in between classes or events.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
I would say keep an open mind. Try to push yourself outside your comfort zone, because that's where we learn and grow the most.
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
I had to learn how to study effectively, which I'm still learning. I often procrastinate, which is not good for many reasons. It really stresses me out when I procrastinate, so I decided to work ahead. Working ahead gave me time to study previous material, prepare for exams and not feel stressed out. I've learned how to be more proactive in my education. I used to complete assignments just for the grades, but I realized I'm truly interested in certain class and what they have to offer. I appreciate being able to learn tools and knowledge I can pass on or use in the future.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I like to exercise or just spend the day to myself. I started to do yoga, which I'm excited about, and I also go to the recreation center to work out and burn calories. In the past, I did find walking around campus, especially at night, very therapeutic. During these walks I'm able really take in and appreciate the minor things in life. It's a great time to reflect or just be still. My favorite thing is the silence; it's very calming.