Name: Juan Molina
Major: Art Studio Design Photography
Hometown: Aurora, Illinois
Committee: Communications/ New Student Initiative
I began my college career at Northern the fall of 2011, as a freshman I set forth to involve myself on campus in as many ways as I could. I became part of the Univeristy's Honor Program and joined several student organizations like Best Buddies and HSA. I attended artist lectures, exhibitions, volunteer events, and film screenings among various other events and activities. In a sense, like many, I was looking for a place to belong. As a first generation college student I wanted to obtain all that the college had to offer. This meant going beyond the knowledge I could attain the classroom.. College is more than a time to grow intellectually, academically, and professionally but also a time to grow on a personal level.
College became a time where beliefs and values were challenged. Some would be forgotten, others would be attained, and previous ones would be reaffirmed. Becoming involved on campus opened the doors for me to grow on a personal level. It allowed me to learn about others and in doing so I learned about myself. The many film screenings shared a perspective on the world around me, whether it be the screening of the documentary "Precious Knowledge" in the Latino Film Festival or of "Copie conforme" as part of the Tournees French Film Festival. Listening to a guest speakers such as Melanie Yazzie talk about her Navajo culture and the impact it has on her artwork gave insight into different cultural and creative perspectives. All these aspects have had a huge impact as I grow as a person, an intellectual, and an artist. Coming to Northern has fostered my desire to learn beyond the classroom. I continue to try and learn about other cultures, perspectives, views, values, and ideas. Fortunately, Northern offers the opportunities for me to explore theses interest which have had a huge impact on all aspects of my personal and educational career. In becoming involved I was able to see and grasp an appreciation for Northern’s diversity, tolerance, and acceptance.
I challenge everyone to become involved on campus. The college experience is a time to explore. Each individual will leave with something different, perhaps a new group of friends, a new interest, a new perspective, an unplanned degree. Each event, club, volunteer opportunity, and so on is a time to learn something new. To learn from others and oneself. To become part of the NIU community. In the time since I've been at NIU I've learned so much about others, the world, and myself. I feel more aware and open minded to new ideas, values, beliefs. I'm glad to say that the classes, the clubs, the events, the volunteer opportunities, the professors, and especially the individuals I've encountered at Nothern are helping to shape the person I am and want to be. A person that among many things is consious, tolerant, open, and diverse.