Madelin Richards is a nursing major from Fox Lake, IL
Hometown: Fox Lake, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2024
What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I received the NIU Merit Scholarship for my academic and extracurricular work throughout high school. I also received a scholarship for working as an Honors Fellow for the University Honors Program. These scholarships have given me peace of mind that I can focus solely on my academic and career goals.
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 never saw myself being anything other than a nurse. I have always wanted to make a difference in someone's life, and working in a hospital now as a tech, I already know that I was made to be a nurse.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I am a nursing major in my third track and decided on this path in order to pursue my interests in human anatomy and medicine. This career choice also allows me to explore different areas of medicine and continue my education, while being an advocate and support to people in some of their toughest times.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
It has been so nice to see how understanding all of my professors have been. All of my nursing professors were at one point in our shoes, so they are very supportive and understand that nursing school is not easy, and that life happens sometimes!
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
I have been through all of my nursing classes with my cohort and was able to get to know all of them through bonding over the shared experiences of nursing school. I have met the most amazing group of girls who have gotten me through nursing school so far, and we always find ways to destress after a long week!
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 am a member of the Student Nursing Organization (SNO), an Honors Fellow for the University Honors Program and a volunteer at Tails Humane Society in DeKalb. All of these opportunities have brought me close to different people and helped me form some great connections. It has also broadened my horizons and allowed me to get involved in the community.
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
NIU Career Services was a huge help to me last year when I was in search of an internship for the summer. I met with Edward Heard, and he helped me get started on my resume and suggested that I go to the NIU Career Fair.
What Honors Program opportunities or support have helped you get closer to your academic or career goals so far?
One of the requirements for the NIU Honors Program is to complete honors engaged experiences, which is anything done outside of the classroom to boost professional development. This requirement has pushed me to explore things outside of my regular curriculum, like volunteering, joining clubs/organizations and working an internship over the summer.
What do you enjoy the most about the Honors Program?
The Honors Program has brought forth so many opportunities, like being an Honors Fellow! I really enjoy connecting with students and forming relationships with the other fellows and staff.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
Dr. Amy Reeb filled in as the professor for my NURS 315/Med-Surg I course. She always found a different way to explain something to us if we just weren't getting it and kept the class fun with all of her stories. I regret not taking her clinical course this semester!
How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
Attending class every day has helped me connect with my professors and peers, while also getting to further engage and understand the course material to prepare for assignments and exams.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
The lagoon is my favorite spot on campus to study, read or have a picnic. This has been one of my favorite spots on campus because it is so peaceful, and I love that it is still so close to everything on campus.
What advice would you give to a student who is researching colleges to apply to?
My biggest advice would be to listen to yourself. If you have a gut feeling about something, listen to it! Also, make sure to enjoy the experience when it comes to visiting colleges and soak up every second of it.
Why is a college education important to you?
I have always been someone who loved going to school, and I even plan on continuing my education in graduate school after I graduate from NIU.
What strategies do you use to manage your time between the responsibilities of school, work, friends and family?
I always make sure that my planner and calendar are up to date. I also make sure to leave myself little notes so that I don't forget anything. I couldn't live without a planner for assignments!
How do you stay informed about events and services that are available on campus?
I always make sure to read the weekly update sent out by the honors department every Monday.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
To relax, I enjoy watching anything true crime on TV, reading and spending time with my family, friends and boyfriend.
Please tell us about your job and hobbies.
I currently work at the UW-Northern Illinois Hospital (formerly Swedish American) in Rockford as a student nurse intern and patient care tech. I also work for the NIU University Honors Program as an Honors Fellow. In my free time, I enjoy reading, volunteering at Tails Humane Society and going on walks around campus.