I <3 NIU!

NIU is an amazing place! In my four years I have met so many great people, taken some amazing classes, and had some great opportunities. These are the reasons why I love NIU. From my first visit to this campus back in 2010 I felt so much warmth and welcoming spirits from the people on this campus. I have met some of best friends that I know I will have for the rest of my life. I met these people through getting involved and going Greek. An amazing opportunity in itself that I would not have had if I hadn’t chosen this great university. I also have met amazing friends from living in the residence halls, participating in RHA, and just from groups for my major like the Sociology Advisory Council. My major has introduced me to some really cool classes and professors/instructors. I have taken classes like Race and Ethnicity, Sociology of Death and Dying, Social Problems, and Marriage and Family. All these classes were taught by great instructors/professors like Dr. Moreman, Dr. Walther, Kristie Crane, etc. My freshman year I received the opportunity to be a Student Orientation Leader which jump started my transition into a young adult with networking skills. Being an OL allowed me to build professional relationships with NIU administrators that I still work with today. Being able to go Greek has furthered my networking skills, helped me meet make friends that I will have for life, and gave the confidence to lead my Greek council.

NIU is a great place! You just have to go out and be open to the opportunities that may come your way. Try new things, meet new people, and go after those experiences that can help you figure out your own reasons why you love NIU.


Until Next Time,



A Great Way to Have Fun

The biggest thing that every student should keep in mind is that it never hurts to relax. (Although, relaxation in moderation is key.) I love to find little spaces on and off campus to relax and enjoy a few spare minutes in the day. A regular thing that I do to relax and have a little fun in between classes is to visit the main floor of the Holmes Student Center, I can always find someone that I know there that I can sit and talk with and occasionally have an impromptu study group with. Most times I can find groups of students that are involved in similar, if not the same, organizations as I am who will make five minutes of fun feel like an hour of stress relief. I love to take advantage of the different theme days in the Huskie Den to have a little fun while on a budget but most of all I love on campus events. Organizations that I am involved in or are close to put on a lot of great events for students seven days out of the week. Some times the events are informative programs while other events could be competitions, exhibition shows, or just over all social events. Some of the events hosted by the orgs are free and if they aren’t free the money goes back to helping that org put on more great event and often times to charity as well. My favorite week of events so far has been homecoming events because there were great events put on by multiple groups on campus. Yell Like Hell was a great show, the National Pan-Hellenic Council’s annual step show gave the campus a way to participate in Greek life, and the competition known as Lip Sync hosed by Phi Rho Eta Fraternity, Inc. is always fun. But if your looking for something that is always free, check out a regular season home game of any of our athletics teams. I favor the football games, but either way GO HUSKIES! Off campus I love to try new restaurants and of course shop on Sycamore. By far my favorite restaurant is Egg Haven followed by the Huddle as a close second.


Because I spend so much time on campus at night it is really important that I do what it takes to stay safe. I make sure that I am always with at least one other person so that I am never walking alone, I am aware of my surroundings by not being distracted with electronics while out and about, and I utilize my resources like Late Night Ride (815-753-2222) or Student Huskie Patrol (815-753-9658) when I’m not driving.  After having the opportunity to sit down with Police Chief Phillips I was happy to hear that the precautions I take are ones that really can help me be safe in life in general. Chief Phillips did help me to realize that my lovely smart phone is something that can make a target when I’m out and about anywhere. He reminded me how important it is to keep the distractions put away and focus on getting to my destination while monitoring my surroundings.


Get out there and try something new and exciting! There could never be a better time than the present to experience all that NIU and DeKalb has to offer you!!! But always make sure that you pay attention to your own safety.


Until Next Time,


THE Internship

When asked to consider an engaged learning activity that has impacted me I would have to say my time spent with future full-time employer. I interned with them twice as a part of their college program. My first year in the program I felt like I learned a lot but the second year I learned even more. As a second year intern I felt a lot more pressure to perform and exceed the high expectations placed on me by my mentors. I had no idea the challenges that I would face but I learned so much during my time at my store. The management threw every challenge at me that I could ever imagine but it made me a stronger person and an even stronger professional. I really learned to leverage the teams and partnerships around me and to trust in my core skills. More than anything I learned how to manage. Going through my second year was hard and a lot of work, but I wouldn’t change the people or the experience for the world. Every second made me a better Ariel. 

Recently I took on the challenge of becoming a mentor. With everything that I already have on my plate, taking on a mentee was quite an undertaking. But I hope that with time I will build a better relationship with my mentee and have an amazing impact on her life in order to help shape her into an even better young woman than what she is today. But in order to succeed at being her mentor I have to put my best forward and remember the little things that helped me grow and develop. The best part about my mentee is that I know that I can learn as much from her as she can learn from me.

Until next time,


The Start of a New Year

This year has got off to a CRAZY start! I am currently taking seventeen credit hours, juggling my various involvement activities, and preparing to start work. I am currently taking a six classes this semester from the areas of political science, geography, and sociology. I must say that I am the most excited about taking Social Problems. It’s within an area of Soc that I have never taken before and because of that it’s more interesting. We have the opportunity to study problems that impact us as people ranging from race, environment, hunger, etc. My teacher for the class is also my major adviser so think that is an extra plus as well. In the future I don’t have very many classes left to take. I will have one semester left after this one and at that point all of my gen ed classes will be complete and all I will have is one class left for my major and one class left for my minor. I’m honestly excited to complete my major. I am in love with everything that I learn in my classroom but I am ready to feel that unbelievable feeling accomplishment that happens when you complete your degree program. Although I am excited to complete my program, no class will ever amount to Soc 170 with Bonnie Jensen. Oh when times were that simple!

The most interesting thing that has happened to me so far involved one of my organizations. By chance the previous president stepped down and as a VP I chose to step up. As a senior it was definitely not a part of my plan but I love a good challenge. Already I’m being pushed to adapt and improve my time management skills which will be key in managing all of my responsibilities this semester. What I am most excited about also ties into my organizations again because I am planning a huge event that I can’t wait to see it play out. This is my first time in this position but I am enjoying the challenge and all that I’m learning. 


Until Next Time, 


My First Post!

Hello World!

My name is Ariel McClay and I am a Sociology major at Northern Illinois University. I am on the Alumni and Foundation Committee within the Northern Lights Ambassador program. I am from Bolingbrook, Illinois but my ties to the windy city are unbreakable. I come from a small family of two sisters and two brothers-in-laws that are more than blood than in laws. I come from a traditional two parent home so nothing exciting there, except for the fact that my father is a pastor. I am in love with the life that I live because I know that things can be a lot worse and my deck of cards in this life are more like a challenge than a burden. If you see me on campus feel free to say hi because God knows I’m involved in organizations that live and thrive in the student/administrative spotlight.

I chose NIU because it felt right. Of course I did some research to determine if NIU had my major at the time but I was more so interested in feeling like I could connect with my environment. On a whim I came on a visit day during early spring when the campus was just beginning to thaw out. I saw the classic buildings on the east side of campus and the creek that runs by Cole Hall and fell in love. I chose to stay because the people I met here have pushed me to become a better me.

I chose to be an NLA because I love working with first-year students and helping with their transition. In the past I have coordinated residence hall tours for housing and dining, served as an orientation leader, and facilitated various new student programs from the behind the scenes. This year I look forward to working more with the administration, alumni, and donors to really help display the student experience and paint the picture that Northern is a great place to be.

The wide variety of people here stands out the most to me. As a student leader I meet leaders all the time who are just as involved but are involved in different ways. You can learn something from everyone you meet here. (Nope, not 30 words but close if you round down)


Until Next Time,