Laci Sligar

Laci Sligar

Laci Sligar is a physical education major from Centralia, IL

Hometown: Centralia, IL

Year: Expected graduation: 2022

Major: Physical education

Transfer from: College of Lake County

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
Growing up, I wanted to be a nurse. I’ve always had a passion for helping others. In the end, teaching physical education is what I’m most passionate about. I can help students become the best possible version of themselves through various types of movement. 

What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major is physical education with a health minor. While completing my associate degree at the College of Lake County, I was still undecided. After I took an Intro to Physical Education class as an elective, I knew exactly what I wanted my career path to look like. 

What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
I have found it pleasantly surprising just how much NIU feels like home for me. NIU has such a welcoming environment. All of my professors have been so supportive and are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure every student is successful. 

How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
Being a part of a cohort with physical education majors has allowed me to better myself as a student, meet new people and build lifelong relationships with other pre-service teachers in my classes. As a cohort, we all work together, encourage and build up one another through any obstacles placed in front of us. There is a collaborative effort amongst us all to be successful, understand/apply the content and, most importantly, be the best teachers we can be. It is a great feeling knowing my peers want me to succeed just as much as I do. I know this group of educators will go out and change the world.

What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
Founders Library has definitely helped me succeed this past year. Finding a quiet place to focus and study for a big test and/or finals week makes the world of difference in my performance.

Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
Dr. Zachary Wahl-Alexander (KNPE) has been my favorite professor during my time at NIU. Dr. Wahl does whatever it takes to make each student become the best teacher they can possibly be. In doing so, he spends countless hours getting to know each student on a personal level. He can find many things unique to each student to help them shine in the teaching world. I owe my confidence, drive to succeed and willingness to improve to Dr. Wahl after being guided by him this past year. Professor Rachel Kowal (KNPE) has been another one of my favorite professors at NIU. She teaches KNPE 452, one of the hardest courses I’ve taken in college. She has done whatever it takes to help me understand the concepts of exercise and its effect on the body in a deeper sense, ultimately leading me to create a healthier life for myself. She quickly became a mentor to me, and I knew I could go to her for anything.  She goes above and beyond and is willing to do whatever it takes for students to succeed in and out of the classroom. She instilled a high level of confidence in me and helped me realize the characteristics I display in everyday life will make me an excellent teacher. Her guidance this past summer helped me conquer every challenge life has thrown my way.

How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
By attending class regularly, I feel like I have built stronger relationships with my professors and classmates. 

Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus is definitely Anderson Hall. The foundation of my career was built in this building. My growth, success, drive, confidence, passion and development as a pre-service teacher have been impacted by the faculty and staff in this building. I built lifelong friendships and made great connections in this building. Most importantly, I learned how to take failure and transform it into something amazing here. I will always be grateful to this place, the faculty/staff and their remarkable efforts to make me the best teacher I can be. 

What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
I would tell anyone to take the community college route first. Figure out what you want to do, have your mind set on it, then transfer to a four-year school. Going to a community college before transferring to NIU is the best decision I could have made for myself, my career and my finances.

Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Coming to college, I definitely had to learn to be flexible. Things are changing all the time, and I have had to be able to adjust to those changes in order to be successful. 

What do you do to relax or recharge?
To relax/recharge, I really enjoy going on a run and working out. There is nothing like throwing in my headphones and being in my own little world as I exercise.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
I’m proud to be an NIU Huskie! 

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