by Cheddar Arias and Laura Zornosa
He is studying Industrial Engineering and Management Science and is from Darien, Connecticut.
“I met my best friend through the room sync app that Northwestern had set up and just randomly picked my roommate. We lived together freshman year and then we rushed the same fraternity. Now we’ve lived together for four years.”
“I’ve learned to care less about what people think about me and have become safe in my own skin. I’ve definitely learned a lot about myself in terms of getting in touch with my feelings and stuff like that I had never really experienced before.”
An Economics major from Wood Dale Illinois, she was the Drum Major of NUMB for two years and a counselor at Camp Kesem.
"Right before our pregame show, we line up in the big, inflatable cat head in one of the endzones and shoot out of it. Right before, I was stretching a little because we have to do a backbend in front of all of Ryan Field. My pants were sticking to my legs, and they ripped. I hear a loud “rip” sound and seconds later the entrance video starts, so I have no time to solve this disaster. Luckily it was only like a two to three-inch rip so I don't think too many people noticed, but I just had to go with the flow."
"In the moment it's hard to not feel bad about getting a bad grade or not getting a job or any form of rejection, but in the end everything just works out."
SHAPE and NAISA helped define this PoliSci and International Studies double major's time here in Evanston, her hometown."
"Something that happened very shortly after I started attending Northwestern is that Obama came to give a surprise speech, and very few people were alerted of this. Even less got tickets, but my dad’s a professor here and I found out that he was getting a ticket. He was going to turn it down because he was out of town and I said, ‘Dad, you cannot turn down a ticket to see Obama – give me the ticket.’ So I got the ticket, it had his name on it and said “professor.” It said they would be checking ID’s on the bottom but I was like, “Screw it” and got very dressed up. I just very confidently walked up to the secret service and put my purse on the little belt, showed them my ticket and they didn’t ask for my ID. So I got to see Obama speak and I felt very special."
"I think I've learned to be comfortable not always knowing the right answer and I really want more people to feel that way. I think we’re all searching for the magic script: whether it’s the magic script of how to have good friendships or the magic script of how to be successful or how to have good political views and activism – and that doesn’t exist. So I think the best thing you can do is to be confident in how you think and how you go about life."
"I also don’t like PoliSci bros in classes that talk very confidently about stuff they don’t know about. And if you become friends with the TA, you'll realize that they see right through those people, so that’s helped me a lot."
This Theatre and Sociology major from Oak Park, Illinois has participated in Waa-Mu, Heathers, Ragtime and many other student productions.
"I was really surprised how many people wanted to help me. In Waa-Mu there’s like 30 people working on a song. I’ll hum a tune in my head one day and I'll come up with a couple of lyrics. But then I’ll show it to a composer who will write a whole real melody line and chords and then give it to the music director and he'll give it to an orchestrator and they'll write out a 20-piece orchestration of the song and all the sudden this tune that's in my head is in this fully staged show. People want to help you and do things with you and want to create things.”
“If I were to give advice to my former self it would be to never, ever, ever give up. Nothing that I've achieved here I received on the first try. I didn't get into the musical theater certificate here, but I'm now receiving the musical theater certificate because I pushed so hard to get all of the requirements to get it while not being technically a part of it.”
“There’s like 3 things in my life that are the scariest I’ve ever done: one of them is lead climbing, the second one is downhill skiing, and my senior recital is the third one. It was a lot of rehearsal, a lot of playing my pieces in my lessons with my bassoon professor. I wore a dress that I wore for my sophomore year homecoming; it’s very bougie. All spotlights [were] on me. It was live recorded, which was cool – I still haven’t watched it. I'm scared to watch it. Afterwards we had a hummus reception.”
“I feel like there’s so many big things that happen in your life on this campus, like moving into your dorm, picking your roommate, having midterms. All these big milestones that you think are so important that I think sometimes it’s easy to forget the little things that are very insignificant but add up in a big way.”
This comedian is an RTVF major who worked for Sherman Ave, Sit and Spin Standup, NSTV, was an MRP producer and created The Blackout and Chainsmokers: The Musical.
“It seems like there are a lot of established systems, but you can always create something that you are excited about, and if you build it, people will follow. Especially with things like The Blackout, I got rejected from every organization on campus and then I was like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna do our own thing now,’ and that’s how that organization was born. People at this university really doubt themselves when they get rejected from an organization, but I think you should never really doubt yourself because everybody can create something that is really exciting that other people will enjoy.”
“A Northwestern memory that sticks out to me is my sophomore year: Sherman Ave had this party, and then after, everybody went to the lakefill at night to go swimming. And I just remember it distinctly as just saying goodbye to all these seniors that I had respected and really admired that whole time, and being there with a lot of the friends that were coming up on that organization. That just felt like this very great transitional moment.”
She is a Sociology Major from New York City who was the president of her sorority, a Peer Adviser, took part in various theater boards and worked with admissions.
"I went to the bowl game in Nashville this winter break. I ended up taking a 16-hour bus ride from New York to Nashville and met up with my friend and her sister. I just think it's funny because I never thought I would be a football fan coming to college; I am the least sports-competent person you will ever meet. Now, I care enough about Northwestern football to take such a long ride to Nashville and it was cool seeing so many other students there, showing up to support the team."
"I've learned that people are the most important thing. That building relationships and community is really the foundation for success here. I think a lot of the time we're very end-goal-oriented but without a strong support network and friendship, [success in] empathy and kindness is really hard to achieve."
She's a Anthropology major and Global Health minor from Cedarburg, Wisconsin. She served as a Peer Advisor and was involved in student theater and acapella.
"Once I pulled an all nighter making Popsicle stick picture frames for this club I was in. And then in the morning I decided to take part of this production of Jeb! the Musical which was taking place at the Art Box – which was just a parody of Hamilton about Jeb Bush. It was basically a glorified sing-along, but I starred as Hillary Clinton in that and got a literal second-degree sunburn from sitting at the Lakefill."
"I think I've learned how to not prioritize school but still be interested in the world. I think I’ve learned how to learn – if that makes sense – by being able to figure out what’s important and what to listen to and what to question."
This talented Theater major and Latino Studies was a member of Waa-Mu, Wirtz productions, Undertones acapella and various productions.
“Make time to do the things that you want to do and don’t do things because you feel like you have to do them – do them because you love to do them. And that includes spending time with people. I know you have limited time here, and having three weeks left before graduation has really made me reflect on how I’ve delegated my time here. And that includes hanging out with people that I really love and really cherish and are my chosen family. Just do it, just show up and do the thing. Give a good audition, give a good representation of yourself.”
“I was the student performer at CommFest and I had rented this beautiful ball gown with one shoulder, but it was a heavy fabric and it had an invisible zipper and an hour before the show started the zipper broke. And I was like, ‘Omg idk what to do.’ I called my mom and asked her to bring me a dress and she was like, ‘I’m already here,’ and I was like, ‘Bring me your dress, I need something to wear.’ Heather Headly, who’s a Tony Award-winning Broadway actress, saw me struggling and she was like, ‘Come with me, we’re going to Wardrobe.’ She took me to wardrobe and helped keep me calm. They sewed me into the dress and then after they had to take a seam ripper and rip me out. So Heather Headly, God bless her, was helping me stay present even though it was really, really hard.”
Marissa is a Journalism major and Poli Sci minor.
“I feel like I was fortunate to meet people in a lot of different areas of this campus, because here you can get involved in a lot of different stuff. I was a FUP (Freshman Urban Program) counselor for my junior and senior year and I’m from Chicago originally so that was very meaningful for me: to get to experience the city that I grew up in with people who were trying to get to know the city … and getting to see new things from their eyes.”
“I really tried to seek out places where I could push boundaries or indulge my interests. I met a lot of weird people and did some weird things along the way. I definitely slacked on some obligations of mine and got way too invested in some project and that became my life for a quarter. I came here wanting to grow and change as a person, and since I set that goal for myself I think that I achieved it.”
He is a Computer Science major from Dubuque, Iowa who is very passionate about Ultimate Frisbee.
“The main thing that I’ve gotten out of all of my classes and extracurriculars is that if you want to really dedicate a lot of time, energy and passion into something, there’s not a whole lot that can stop you from being successful.”
“Me and my friends did this design competition, we were pretty confident that we were gonna do well. We put in a good amount of time into making this self-driving robot. The goal is you have a cup that’s set on top of your robot and you just have to evade an adversary that’s trying to knock off the cup. We had some sensors on it that were working very, very well and then the night before everything just stopped working. Our motor lead snapped, our LED’s died…, and our wheels weren’t working like we expected. Everything went wrong 12 hours before we were supposed to be ready to go. So we had this ‘OMG, everything is not working,’ moment and we stayed up ‘till like 3 a.m. to get it working. It just totally failed. … It was pretty demoralizing but it was still fun.”
He is a Psychology major who was a Peer Advisor and Track Club President.
"I'm a big football fan, so actually having my own college football team was a big deal. This year, the final home game was against Minnesota and it was probably the worst conditions I’ve ever seen for a football game. There was sleet, it was miserable, it was cold, it was rainy, it was the first, worst day of fall. At this point, no one is in the stands – the student section was three rows deep and it was just me and my friends. We decided to rotate throughout the game, in which we would all go to the bathroom and then come back to make sure no one stole our spots. That was a fun experience and just lasting throughout that horrible weather together was fun."
"I think the biggest takeaway I’m going to have is it’s always good to do what you have to do in terms of schoolwork but I also think it’s very important to just take time for yourself. Have some fun and put yourself out there! A lot of the time I think we’re quite hesitant to do things because we think we might fail, we might look stupid, we might get embarrassed but just by making that step we benefit so much."
He is a Computer Science major from Naples, Florida.
“If you email Morty and ask him to come to dinner he’ll do it. It’ll take a long time scheduling wise, but he came over we had dinner. We talked about how he loves Kanye West and how he’s friend with Scott from HQ… That was a crazy day. It was during Reading Week and I put everything aside for it.”
“You’re never going to be done learning and you’re never going to be perfect at anything. A really big part of my journey has been realizing that learning is everything. Not just in class, but outside of class by constantly engaging with new things and growing from them – [it’s] been probably the most important part of my Northwestern career.”
This student is an Applied Math major who was a Peer Advisor and worked at Norris.
“It’s just so much fun because every single year [has] made me love Northwestern so much more. It’s easy to get jaded and disenchanted after so many years at a place because you start to see the imperfections… but every single year there are 2,000 new students that come in and are so excited. And it just reminds me every single year why this school is so great and all of the really good things that it does and these people are going to have four amazing years here.”
“I switched majors my junior year […] and because of that I’ve taken so many classes that I don’t really need, and maybe I’ll use some of them and maybe I won’t. But the things that I’ll remember most out of my four years are the people that I’ve met and interacted with. They have taught me so much about myself as a person and have made me realize that it’s just so, so important to invest in relationships.”
She is a History and Middle East North African Studies major who was also a part of the Harmony in Spirit Christian acapella group.
“At the end of my freshman year, my acappella group decided that we were going to go paint a rock by the lake. So after our concert was over we went out with our blue and white paint and we picked a rock. We painted it blue and put a fish on it with all of our names. It was just a nice moment because it was sunset and we were all together. Now I’ll go on the Lakefill to check up on it.”
“I've learned how to be a much more confident person. I was really shy coming into Northwestern and I was really nervous about making friends. But through different leadership positions, getting to know all the people here and then going abroad and everything, it has really helped me to come out of my shell and realize that I have something to contribute.”
“This quarter, one of my professors started getting into Twitter, so we were explaining to her what it means to be ‘Twitter famous.’ And so we challenged her – like, ‘Hey, you should try it sometime.’ And on Sunday I open up my Twitter and I see a tweet from her that’s been retweeted like 170,000 times and favorited 700,000 times and I replied to her and said, ‘Hey, I think you got twitter famous!’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, thank you so much,’ and then I opened up my Instagram and I also saw it. So I think I had some part in contributing to her new Twitter fame.”
“I think that here at Northwestern there’s so much pressure to be so set in stone and work on your one goal that I think it’s really important to be open to new things and try different experiences and not be so limited.”
He is a Journalism major and former EIC of Inside NU from Waynesboro, Virginia.
“My junior year, I got to go cover the Northwestern men's basketball team at the NCAA tournament. That whole year was such a cool experience. To see people come together and rally around the sports team was really, really special. Not only the players but the community… Sometimes people see these student athletes and it's kind of easy to take them as not even in the same school as we are because they’re doing these incredible things on the court. But to be able to identify with these people and walk by them and know what's going on in their lives is something that NU has never seen before. Seeing the community come together was so, so cool – and seeing my friends that had never gone to basketball games before going. To see a team make history is very special, and you'’ll never be able to make history again in that manner. So to be able to see that for the first time was so cool.
“This is the first time you're living by yourself so it's okay to fail. But the most important thing is that you learn from your failures. There were times where classes were hard for me, social situations were hard for me, but you have to pick yourself back up and have people that will help you.”
produced by Tiffany Jeung