Erin McNally is a communicative disorders major from West Dundee, IL
Hometown: West Dundee, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2022
Major: Communicative disorders
Transfer from: Elgin Community College
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
When I was growing up, I wanted to become a speech language pathologist (SLP). However, after taking business classes in high school, I decided to declare accounting as my major. Becoming an SLP was always in the back of my mind, though. Once I graduated with my Associate of Arts degree, I decided to pursue my dream and get a degree in communicative disorders.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major is communicative disorders, with plans of becoming a speech language pathologist. I chose communicative disorders because I wanted to be able to help people. When I was little, I went through speech therapy to fix a speech impediment. When I got older, I wanted to be able to help children with any communication disorder they might have. My interest in pursuing communicative disorders expanded when one of my family members had a medical event that caused him to require rehabilitation therapy, including speech. I was able to see firsthand what an SLP can give to a family. I was able to communicate with my family member and fully understand the message he was saying, thanks to the assistance of the speech therapist.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
I was pleasantly surprised that the professors I've had are always willing to provide guidance and share personal experiences within their chosen profession. They are always eager to help with any material we cover.
How have you connected with other students virtually to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
It has been super nice to be able to interact with students virtually during class. Most of my classes have used breakout groups, which allows us to interact and get to know each other on a personal level.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
My favorite professor at NIU is Dr. Allison Gladfelter, who teaches phonetics and language development. Dr. Gladfelter is always willing to provide assistance and advice to her students. She takes time and listens to our suggestions and ideas about current and future assignments. As a student, I can tell that Dr. Gladfelter puts so much time and effort into her students, so that we have the best experience.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
I would tell the student to relax and find a college they really connect with. A university should provide the student with not only a great education, but opportunities within the university and beyond. This school should have extracurricular activities that are both fun for the student and give back to the community.
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
When I started college, I needed to learn time management. When I was in high school, I was used to staying up late and doing assignments right before class. However, when I went to college, I realized that this was not going to work. As a college student, I make sure to keep an updated planner with assignments and due dates. Most importantly, I try to start the assignment a few weeks before, rather than doing it at the last second.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
To relax and recharge, I love to work out (go on runs, hiking and biking), spend time with friends and family, and watch movies.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
My parents met while attending Northern Illinois University, so I was extremely excited to continue the tradition and become a Huskie!