Business department connections

I love seeing how students at Northwestern find a little niche in their academic departments, and I’ve found a great community in the business department, where both of my majors fall.

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The business department is the biggest department on campus, but somehow it still feels so friendly, in part because the professors are very personable and get to know you from the first day of your first general seminar class. One reason I think the department seems so close is that many of the majors within it require similar core classes, so everyone gets to know each other right away.

One thing I appreciate about the department is the commitment the professors have to connecting students with internship and job opportunities. They do this through connecting with Northwestern alumni and community employers and coordinating trips to job fairs.

When I was a freshman, the business department held Formal Fridays. Professors would bring in business leaders who we could speak with, set up mock interviews, hold a discussion on how to dress like a business professional and more.

This semester, the new Business Club launched, and while I’m disappointed I won’t get to see all the wonderful things it will do in the coming years, I know that it will provide an opportunity for students to connect with other business majors, leaders and employers from all over to learn more about the real world before jumping into it. The club is already doing things like touring the Staples plant in town and taking headshots for LinkedIn profiles.

I’m very grateful for the friendships and connections I made during my four years here. I’m also thankful for the time and commitment the business professors put into not only preparing their students for careers in an educational way but also in a practical way.

Integrating faith

One thing that makes Northwestern different than many other colleges and universities is the constant focus of integrating faith into course work, in the classroom and in relationships.

My freshman year, I took a math course and toward the end of the semester, we were required to write a paper that tied together two topics: math and faith. It was the first paper I had ever written for math, and it taught me how possible it was to integrate faith into any topic or subject.

In the same sense, many of my classes begin in prayer. I have been taking Spanish courses during my sophomore year. Every Monday, my professor beings class with a devotional. This may include sharing a story of God’s work, reading from the Bible and asking a question, or listening to a praise song and reflecting on the words. Our devotion times always end with application. It is important to my Spanish professor that we are able to find lessons within her devotionals to use in our everyday lives. We then close in prayer and start class. Having morning devotionals on Mondays always lifts my day, allowing my mood to increase greatly.

Every professor on campus works toward incorporating faith into their courses. Attending a school where faith is a top priority is encouraging. It is reassuring knowing I can walk into my professors’ offices and have an open conversation about academics, faith, and life in general.

Earlier this semester, I set up an appointment with a professor to talk about a test and after a while one thing led to another. A half-hour later we had gone from talking about my test to talking about what was being studied in Discipleship Groups in Fern this semester. Near the end of our conversation, she offered to pray for and with me before leaving her office.

If you’re looking for a safe place where you can openly talk about your faith with students, faculty and staff, Northwestern is the perfect environment to embrace that.

 

Special topics classes

One of the things that I love about Northwestern is that a lot of departments offer special topics classes – classes like Women in the Bible, Topics in OT: Pentateuch, Land of Galilee, C.S. Philosophy, Science Fiction Philosophy, Fantasy Writing, and more. These classes are some of the best classes because the students in them are people who find the topics really interesting and are excited to delve in a deeper to the subject matter. This lends itself to amazing discussion.

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I’m currently taking a special topics class in literature about J.R.R. Tolkien. This class has been so fun. All of the people in the class really like Tolkien and are excited to really take the text seriously and learn more about the world of Middle Earth. A typical day in this class includes conversations ranging from asking questions like “Where do Hobbits come from?” to talking about the friendship between C.S. Lewis and Tolkien to discovering what we can learn about Tolkien’s faith and God from the text. I always go to this class excited to learn.

Not only that, but I get to read things like “The Hobbit” for homework! It’s always a breath of fresh air when I finish all my other homework and get to work on my Tolkien homework, which means getting to read something I love and that I would read for fun anytime.

 This Tolkien class has been one of the best experiences I have had academically here at Northwestern, and I know people who have taken other special topics classes here would say the same thing about those classes. No matter who you are, there is probably a special topics class at Northwestern that is perfect for you and if you took it, it would add a lot to your experience at Northwestern.

Work-study benefits

It never hurts to have a little extra money, especially when you are a college student. Northwestern offers students the opportunity to work on campus and earn money through work-study positions. Students who hold these positions are required to work a minimum of five hours per week, so they’re a perfect for full time students who have busy schedules with classes and activities. There are a variety of positions available across campus in offices, academic departments and food services, just to name a few.

I have the privilege of holding a work-study position in Northwestern’s advancement office. I assist with event planning, sending gifts to donors, filing documents and other various office duties. The advancement office is in charge of planning and organizing homecoming in the fall and the Scholarship Auction in the winter. In preparation for these two events, I have the responsibility of alphabetizing name tags, assisting with sending invitations, putting posters up around campus, freshening-up decorations, photographing auction items, finalizing lists, helping with set up and lending a hand wherever I can on event days. When the time comes for these events to take place, it is really rewarding to see people enjoying the event I helped plan and set up.

Before this year, I did not know what the advancement office was or what the people who worked there did on a daily basis. My friend and wing mate, Lauren, has had a work-study position with the advancement office since her freshman year at Northwestern. When another position opened up, she recommended me to her work-study supervisor as someone to fill the position. I was contacted, interviewed and hired all within about a week. I was not quite sure what my responsibilities would be, but Lauren assured me that she truly enjoyed working in the office and with the people. After holding a position in the advancement office for six months, I can say that I could not agree more with her. I feel blessed that this position fell into my lap out of the blue. The work is easy to understand and accomplish, the environment is welcoming, I am able to use my creative skills and the people I get to work with always brighten my day.

While some work-study positions are directly related to students’ majors, others are a way to build work skills and earn some money. Either way, work-study positions fit well into students’ schedules and are a great way for students to get to know Northwestern from a different perspective.

Prayer time

Prayer never really played a massive role in my faith before Northwestern. I didn’t pray much in solitude and I was always uncomfortable and nervous when praying over a small group, such as my youth group. Prayer was something that I didn’t hold close to my heart. However, this has changed since I’ve been attending Northwestern.

I found out quickly that prayer was fundamental to NWC. The first time I was introduced to this was on a Red101 visit day. We were at Praise and Worship that Sunday evening and the worship team asked us to pray for the person beside us. Obviously with me being the shy person I am, I did not like this at all. In fact, in that moment, I didn’t even remember the name of the person who was hosting me. My prayer was kind of awkward and weak compared to others that were going on around us. Now looking back on that, I don’t know why I got so nervous about praying for others and amongst others. There was no need for that. Prayer is conversation between you and God. There’s no right or wrong way to pray as I had always believed. Prayer is the closet we can get to the presence of God without being in Heaven. It’s a wonderful and impactful part of our faith.

Looking back on it now, prayer has become a major influence on my spiritual journey. I love that in my dorm, North Suites, we have prayer time up in the second floor lounge at 10 every night. This is a great place of community and vulnerability as you can open up to the people you live amongst through prayer requests. Then there is always small group prayer after Discipleship groups on Tuesday nights and small group prayer after Praise and Worship on Sunday nights. It’s a great opportunity to grow amongst one another and pour into each other’s lives as we pray for one another.

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One of my favorite things is the prayer labyrinth. I didn’t know about this until I experienced using one during Northwestern’s fall retreat. The prayer labyrinth is a big rug designed as a sort of maze that leads to the middle of the rug. The idea behind it is about clearing your mind and body of the commotion of your life and the world around you as you walk toward the middle. I’ve only done it a few times, and every time I have had an awesome experience of clarity and connection with God. All of these prayer opportunities being available to us is an amazing aspect of Northwestern.

I have grown so much spiritually here and what’s even better is that as I’m growing spiritually, I can see my friends and dormmates grow on their journey as well. Praying in small groups amongst your friends and praying over individuals is an amazing part of this community.