Skylar Stanis is a transfer psychology major from Genoa, IL
Hometown: Genoa, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2024
Transfer from: Kishwaukee Community College
Why did you choose to attend NIU?
When I found out about all the opportunities NIU had to offer, I was instantly hooked. I am now involved in multiple clubs, serving on the executive board and making so many connections. NIU has truly shaped me into the person I am today.
What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I received an NIU transfer scholarship and the AIM HIGH Transfer Achievement Scholarship. These have both helped me so much financially with attending NIU.
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 had a lot of interests, including teaching, animal science, art, criminal justice, psychology and more. Psychology always stuck out to me, so I decided to pursue a major in psychology, but wasn’t entirely sure what direction I wanted to go with that. I took many different psychology classes and eventually landed on school psychology.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I am majoring in psychology with a minor in counseling and a certificate in the study of adolescence. I’ve always loved learning about the way the mind works, so I went into college with psychology as my major. I wasn’t sure what direction to take that in, but I decided to get a minor in counseling because at that point, I was leaning toward counseling psychology and maybe even clinical psychology. Throughout my time at NIU, I was able to take a lot of classes to branch out and learn more about the different fields in psychology. I found out about school psychology and became hooked. I wanted to work with young kids and adolescents and began taking adolescent development classes. I learned about a certificate in this area and am now working toward that.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
Growing up, I was always a really shy and reserved person. Attending a big university was scary to me, especially growing up in a small town. However, it was so surprising how much NIU helped me blossom and become the best version of myself. I somehow pushed myself to explore what NIU has to offer, and actually joined some of these clubs and organizations.
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
When I walked into my first in-person class at NIU, my first in-person class since high school, I was so nervous I wouldn’t talk to anyone. But instantly I talked to those around me, as we were all there for the same reason. It was actually easy to talk to those in my class, and we were all there to help each other. It has been great seeing those same people in other classes. One of the best ways I have made great friendships has been joining clubs and getting involved. At first, it’s very scary, but now I have some of my best friends because of this.
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?
The first thing I did at NIU was join the women’s club volleyball team. I instantly became friends with so many people. I am now on the e-board as the secretary, which has helped me learn so much about leadership. I am also involved with Kesem, which is a nonprofit organization that supports kids who have been impacted by a parent’s cancer. Hearing what this organization was about, I wanted to get involved and help make an impact. I serve as the operations coordinator, where I help plan all the events. I have also attended meetings for the Student Psychological Association, which has given me so much information on graduate school and the field of psychology. I have also decided to join the Honors Program, and I am in the process of getting associate honors. The Honors Program has given me more educational experience and gives me more motivation to push myself in my academics.
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
As a project for one of my counseling classes, I went to the CCTC (Community Counseling Training Center) and that has helped me so much with my success. At first, it sounded scary seeing someone and talking to someone I didn’t know. However, I learned so much about myself and I got myself to open up a lot.
Are there transfer-specific resources, offices or services that you use to help you succeed at NIU?
All of my advisors have been great resources for me. When I first came to NIU and met my academic advisor, she helped me so much with my transfer credits and guiding me with the new school.
What Honors Program opportunities or support have helped you get closer to your academic or career goals so far?
I love taking the honors courses, as they push me to be more successful. It has also pushed me to become more involved in my clubs and activities. Rather than just being a part of these clubs, it pushed me to become a board member and make a personal impact and advance my leadership skills. I am also looking at the online opportunities for learning job and leadership skills.
What do you enjoy the most about the Honors Program?
I enjoy the challenge and the support from everyone. School and academics have always come naturally to me. By being in the Honors Program, it has challenged me more by allowing me to take more competitive courses and become more involved with the school. The support is also amazing. I have met a couple people in the Honors Program, specifically those who have already graduated, and they are still here to help me along the way. The staff involved are so supportive as well, as they continue to encourage me.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
I really enjoyed Professor Anne Britt when I took PSYC 305, research methods. That class was difficult for me, as it involved a lot of stats. Although it was difficult, Professor Britt made the class so fun and helped the material really stick in my head. I also really enjoyed having Professor Nina Mounts as my adolescent development professor. She made me realize I wanted to add a certificate in the study of adolescence.
How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
I have definitely benefited from attending classes regularly. I hear a lot of people say they skip classes sometimes, but I can say I never skip my classes anymore. In the past, if I ever skipped a class, I found that all it did was hurt me because then I was behind. My classes are very interactive, which make it very beneficial to be there. Every day I go to class is a fun and new learning experience.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
I love the Holmes Student Center. I love doing my homework there, meeting up with people and just hanging out. There is so much room at the student center. There are comfortable seats to do schoolwork, a lot of dining areas and fun areas to hang out. I personally love grabbing a drink at Starbucks and finding a nice seat to do homework. I tend to get so much done by doing this.
What advice would you give to a student who is researching colleges to apply to?
When researching colleges, look at what the school has to offer, including clubs, courses and what is around in the community. I didn’t know about all the amazing things NIU offers when I first went to college. Once I found out about all the amazing opportunities, I wanted to transfer as quickly as I could.
Why is a college education important to you?
A college education is important to me because it has opened the doors to many things I didn’t know before. College provides so many courses that weren’t available in high school. I was not sure what path I wanted to take with my life because I felt closeted. Now that college has expanded my knowledge and provided me with so much more, I have learned what path I want to take.
What strategies do you use to manage your time between the responsibilities of school, work, friends and family?
It is definitely a struggle managing everything going on between school, work, friends, family and extracurricular activities. The best way I have managed my time is simply by using a planner. It sounds cheesy and too simple, but it has helped me so much. At the beginning of every week, I write out my entire schedule for the week, then write down all the homework I have. In my planner, I even write down any social events I want to go to, which encourages me to get everything done. As I go through my schedule I cross everything out so I can see what I have going on. Sounds simple, but it is so efficient. Another strategy I use to manage all these things is finding the space to do them. You need to find what works best for you when it comes to accomplishing your goals. For me, I love to go to Starbucks and get all my homework done there.
How do you stay informed about events and services that are available on campus?
I don’t live on campus, so sometimes that makes it difficult to stay informed on everything going on. A way for me to stay informed has been following all the NIU social media pages, which helps me see what is going on at all times.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
One way I recharge is going to the gym. Working out makes me feel so good afterwards and makes me feel accomplished. Sometimes I’ll even go to the gym and simply walk on the treadmill and read a book or listen to a podcast. It is very simple and relaxing, but also makes me feel good at the end of it.
Please tell us about your job and hobbies.
Along with being a full-time college student involved with many clubs at NIU, I have a part-time job as a manager at a restaurant. At this restaurant, I help customers with their orders, help prep orders, help close the restaurant at the end of a shift and work with the food truck, as well. I have a lot of fun at my job, which is amazing considering my busy schedule. Outside of school, work and my extracurricular activities, I enjoy going on walks with my dogs and family, reading and spending time with my friends.