Izaiah Webb is a sport and exercise psychology graduate student from DeKalb, IL
Hometown: DeKalb, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2022
Major: Master's degree program in Sport and exercise psychology
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 be a medical doctor. Specifically, I wanted to be a surgeon. Leading up to college, I changed what I wanted to do multiple times. It went from surgeon, to chiropractor, to physical therapist, to personal trainer. Thankfully, most of these options were still in or relate to the field I majored in, exercise science and psychology.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I am currently in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KNPE) master's degree program studying sport and exercise psychology. I have always loved learning about the human body and mind, helping others on a personal level, and participating in sports. I put all my passions together and sports psychology popped out!
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
I have found a number of things pleasantly surprising about NIU, but the most pleasant has been the relationships I've been able to build with professors. I went to a smaller university for my undergraduate degree, and I originally thought if there were less people at the school, you'd make stronger connections with the professors, because they had less students to attend to. Despite the larger number of students at NIU in relation to my undergraduate experience, the connections I made here have been much stronger.
How have you connected with other students virtually to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
I prefer connecting with people in person and was pretty nervous for how this semester would turn out in that regard. I have to make a shoutout to Dr. Jenn Jacobs for having her students participate in a book club with weekly meetings. It definitely made connecting with classmates virtually much easier and enjoyable. I can now say I have really good friends I've never met in person.
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 currently volunteering for an amazing program called Project FLEX. This program has given me a unique experience because of the tough environment we work in, an Illinois youth detention center. We build relationships and provide mentorship to incarcerated youth at these facilities. A big part of this program is using the power of sports and exercise to help teach the kids life and leadership skills, so when they are released, they have a clearer path to being successful.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
Dr. Jenn Jacobs is the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time). From the jump she has been genuine and intentional about the work she does. I've had the pleasure of working with her through Project FLEX and having her as a professor for Professional Preparation in Sport and Exercise Psychology. She has really made my experience at NIU positive.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus is the Holmes Student Center. I worked as the hotel receptionist in high school and early college. Seeing the building transform into the cool space it is now has definitely drawn me in, especially the new study spaces. Anytime I had a big project or a ton of work to do, I would go there to crank it out.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
Some advice I would give to a student applying to college would be: Embrace change and difference, they can work in your favor. It might shock you at first, but if you lead with an open mind and heart, you will learn something and potentially stumble on the opportunity of a lifetime.
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
I learned in my first term of college that I had to approach it differently than high school. Compared to now, I was passive and just going through the motions in high school - not really learning class content, just using it to get good grades on tests, then forgetting it. Now, I schedule time to study and try to relate what I learn to my life or things I've heard from others. It makes it so much easier to recall information, and I don't forget it, even after I ace the test!
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I am one of those people who is always on the go or doing high-intensity activities. I recharge when I am alone, skateboarding or playing Xbox. To relax, I do yoga, listen to music or cruise on my longboard while listening to some chill tunes.