The House Cafe: My Hidden Treasure

This next guest post is written by Mike Glassberg, a Marketing Student at the NIU College of Business. Follow him on twitter @mglassberg2. 

mike regs e1347975417580 224x300 The House Cafe: My Hidden Treasure

To preface the post, “hidden treasures” are the opportunities and events at NIU that you have to seek out.  They are the opportunities that aren’t always announced in your classes or sent to your zmail.  They are some of the most rewarding activities you can participate in, but they are often overlooked or unknown to many students.  Below, Mike will describe one of his own hidden treasures that he uncovered in his NIU experience  …

What is your stress reliever? Exercising? Music? Drawing? Video games?

I’ve found out in my 3 years at NIU that if you don’t maintain a mental balance between school life and social life – you will go crazy. My stress relief has always been music – I would get home from a long day of work or class and put on my favorite band and jam out. I’ve been doing this since middle school and thought (until last weekend) that this was the best way for me to relieve stress.

I was wrong.

Last week, I stumbled across an ad on Facebook for a free NIU Jazz Band show at DeKalb’s own “House Cafe.” I convinced a few of my friends to join me and we absolutely loved it.

The House Cafe1 300x225 The House Cafe: My Hidden Treasure

A fun environment that fosters productivity?! Sign me up!

The House Cafe provides an amazing experience:

Good music - The House Cafe features a variety of music – Bluegrass, Funk, Jam, Jazz, Punk, Dance, Rock, Country. You name it, the House Cafe has hosted it.

Off campus - Whenever I get stressed out, all I can think about is school, classes, projects, quizzes, and intangible “points”. I often forget there’s a real world outside of NIU, with real people doing real-life things. The House Cafe provides an amazing escape for students even though it’s less than a mile away from campus.

Atmosphere - Great people. Very non-judge-mental. I’m typing this blog on a brown leather couch in the front of the House Cafe while giving the occasional high-five to friendly people passing by.

I’ve started to, and will continue to use The House Cafe as a study outlet. Last Friday night my friends went out partying. I knew I had entirely too much work to do, so instead of being a hermit and working in my room all night, I decided to come to The House and pay $7 to listen to live music, get productive, and still enjoy a social environment.

The NIU Jazz Band plays on Wednesday nights at the House Cafe (FOR FREE!) I’ll be at The House every Wednesday from now on, sitting at a table with my laptop, enjoying live music while still getting productive. Feel free to come out and do the same, I’d love to share such an awesome experience with other people!

Mike

Hi, I’m the New Guy

the office 225x300 Hi, Im the New Guy

Welcome to my office

It’s finally here!  A new semester bringing with it new faces and new beginnings.  The class of 2012 has vacated the campus and moved on to the real world.  Nick Lo Vetere, past author of this blog, has transitioned from an academic lifestyle to a professional one.  In his place, I will be managing the student blog for the 2012-2013 year.  He said before leaving that his successor would be “someone new, with new thoughts, new feelings and new experiences.  It will be a fresh change of pace.”  I can only hope to continue the excellence that Nick Lo Vetere demonstrated on this site.  I hope that my stories and thoughts resonate with you, my audience, in some way shape or form and give you more insight into what it means to be a student at Northern Illinois University.

First, let me begin by introducing myself.  My name is Nick Kochetta and I am a Senior Marketing major here at the NIU College of Business.  My one mission since entering NIU was to leave it a better place than when I started.  I’ve involved myself in organizations such as the Collegiate Sales Advisory Board, the Interactive Marketing Board, and the American Marketing Association to help realize this goal and I hope that through this blog I can inspire other young students to take ownership of their NIU experience as well.  I want to see students get excited about attending NIU and I want people to see what the College has to offer.  Furthermore, I want to maintain transparency in my posts so that you will not only see all the great opportunities and experiences, but you will also see the struggles that come with it.

I am a real student with real stories that I can’t wait to share!  I look forward to a great year and hope that you’ll join me on this journey called my senior year.

Please feel free to drop a comment and chat.  I’m more than open to continuing the conversation and I welcome all of your comments and criticisms.  There’s much more to come so keep your eyes peeled! 2.0 out

Words of Advice

Last week I did a question and answer session with a College of Business (CoB) student named Rod. He is a very active individual in the CoB. He is a senior finance major and currently the VP of Community Service for his business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi (DSP).

I wanted him to share his thoughts and give words of advice to younger students/incoming students. The only thing I want to add is that I share the same opinions as Rod and think that what he has to offer in this Q&A is very helpful and valuable.

Nick: What lead you to be involved on campus?

Rod: One of the biggest things growing up is to give back to the community. Growing up in impoverished neighborhood I appreciated people coming in to tutor or give time to help someone else develop.

Nick: As a senior; why are you still staying actively involved even though graduation is three weeks away?

Rod: I have a passion to stay involved. Seeing the look on someone’s face when you help them and the big difference it makes to someone to spend a little bit of your time with them. It isn’t a right but an obligation or a duty to give back to our communities. It’s like sucking up crops without fertilizing the ground anymore for the future. I want to build on the legacy for others to further build upon in the future.

Nick: What makes you want to leave the College of Business better when you leave versus when you started here?

Rod: For us to continually be ranked atop the nation, we need to bring in better teachers and better resources for students to be the best that they can be. Personally, for people to become better people you must reinvest time in them.  We need to show people how to be a better person so they can do it on their own, similar to movie Paying It Forward.

Nick: What would you have done differently with your time here?

Rod: Academically, I no regrets, I leveraged every opportunity that came. I networked in events, and through my business fraternity (Delta Sigma Pi). The biggest downfall of underclassman is that they do not utilize all the resources around them. An unseen downfall is that they try to become members of so many things and they don’t focus on a handful and become over stretched. You can’t exert your full potential in any one organization. You don’t just join an organization to say you are part of it; you need to be able to devote time and resources in it to make it a great organization. Personally, as VP of Community Service for DSP I wouldn’t be able to hold the position because time would be pulled into other areas.

Nick: What advice can you give to current students and prospective students?

Rod: One of the Biggest pieces of advice I can give without touching on prior information, and is something I give to family friends and my girlfriend is this; step outside your comfort zone, put yourself in uncomfortable situations. It is the only way you can grow. Don’t be afraid to fail because through failure you learn from your mistakes and you become better at what you do. My Mother told me ‘if you’re going to fall, fall fast, so you can get up quick.’ You can apply the same principle for life not just academics. Go in full force and don’t be timid. If you try something and don’t like it, at least you know it’s not for you. But you won’t know until you try.

A big question prospective students get asked is what’s your major, what are you going to be? It is essential to know what you DON’T want to be. If you know what you don’t want to do you know not to go down that path and you can venture down other paths you haven’t been before to explore, grow and find what fits you.

I was an accounting intern at Deloitte for three summers and realized I don’t want to spend all this time out of my life per week for this particular career path. That’s how I ended up going into finance which is similar to accounting. It was a tough choice to switch paths and walk away from great earning potential in an accounting career. But it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Nick: Any final thoughts?

Rod: Meeting new people has been a big breakthrough in college/academic career. A Lot of people generally tend to stay grounded in their high school niche of friends. You never grow if you stay stagnant. I went from predominantly black grammar school to very diverse high school. I learned quickly to adapt to different cultures and ethnicities. When you go into work force you won’t be working strictly with one nationality or ethnicity. Meeting a variety of people in different settings enables you to learn to identify with each culture and what makes each one uniqueme 293x300 Words of Advice and different from its own.

One of the key take aways: Get out, meet new people, have fun, and take a chance. Like I said earlier don’t be afraid to try new things, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Take a risk; be it a calculated risk, but take one. Big gains come from big risk. If you see cute girl in the hall way, can’t get a date if you don’t talk to her! Take rejection as a form of constructive criticism; a checklist of what you need to work on to be a better person.

The final piece of advice: No matter what, stay true to who you are and your values. I walk to the beat of my own drum but I still get along with everyone. Be comfortable in your own skin and with who you are. If you don’t like it, do something about it. Never settle for a situation you aren’t comfortable with. Don’t fit in the box, make the box fit around you.

 

The Fastest Year of Life

Last year a lot of my friends had graduated and the one thing every single one of them told me as I went into my last year of college was this: “it’s going to go by fast; enjoy it while you can.” Not only were they right, in my opinion it was a severe understatement. The fall semester felt like it was over as soon as it begun and the spring semester feels almost as if everything over the past several months happened in a matter of week.

People ranging from younger students and faculty to friends and family are all asking me if I’m excited to graduate. The answer is “yes and no.” People ask why and I say it’s a bittersweet situation. As my roommate and I had discussed just last week, we are ready to graduate, start great careers and start earning real salary and commissions. However, we are nowhere near ready to let go of the college life-style. The huge house parties, the cheap prices at the college bars, always having Fridays off (if you’re a marketing/business major), the freedom of minimal responsibility, staying up until all hours of the night and being able to push through the next day; all is going to be, for the most part, gone.

My roommate and I both said if we could rewind life back to freshman year and start over, we would. Not because we have any regrets (though everyone has some) it would be entirely for the purpose of going through the entire experience again. If I had even just one more year in college there are some things I would do that I wasn’t able. I was recruited to be part of the Experiential Learning Center, where a small group of students act as consultants to a business on a real business issue. Due to scheduling and the academic path I chose, far too many people said it was too much work to handle (and I’m the kind of person who takes on everything, so it says a lot when you’re told more than once not to do it). One more year, and I would be the first to apply and tell every faculty coach why I should be on their consulting project. I also would like to have had one more chance to scrape together enough funds to study abroad since I couldn’t afford to go this past year.  That’s academically, but on the personal side of life, it is tough to say what things I would do that I’ve yet to accomplish. I wouldn’t do anything differently, I would continue trying to take advantage of every moment and seize every opportunity from going out to forming new relationships. I can only hope that if incoming college students stumble across this post that they go to school with the notion that it will go by quick and they need to take advantage of everything as early as possible.

I’ve come to a point in life where I have to make a huge transition that I’m kind of ready for but kind of sad for it to be over.  College has certainly been one of the best chapters of my life and I’ve accumulated a great deal of stories and memories. So much so that I’ve been told more than once my life should have been a reality show during my tenure at NIU. It’s part of growing up though; you can’t be in college forever (unless you’re Van Wilder and take seven years to complete you’re undergrad). However, I still plan on maintaining the relationships I’ve established here to the best of my ability. That includes not only friends, but the professionals I’ve met and the faculty I’ve come to know and love.

Worn Shoe Equals a Wet Foot

First world student problems: Yesterday as I was going through my classes I noticed my foot was wet and wasn’t sure why. Turns out I have a very small hole at the heel of my shoe where the rubber wore away just enough for water to seep in. It is absolutely annoying being in Barsema Hall for a nine hour day and having a wet foot. It drove me nuts!! Looks like I’m going to have to buy new ones, unless I only wear these when it’s dry outside.

As a ‘broke college student’ I don’t exactly have the discretionary income to spring for a fifty or sixty dollar pair of Adidas at the moment, but once June comes around and I have a full time base salary.. well… lets just say I’m going to hit the ground running (with dry shoes)!

Coasting Through a Hurricane

Senior year… there are far too many thoughts in my head about it. A lot of people coast through senior year and I anticipated being one of them. Unfortunately that isn’t anywhere near accurate.

I only have four courses, two of which are capstone courses but the work load is moderate to semi-high. Hurray. The next factor is adding in my job in the Office of the Dean, responsibilities as VP and President of a marketing organization and sales organization respectively, and being a finalist in the world’s largest sales competition. Luckily I’m not scheduled to work that many NIU athletic events this semester, phew.

I feel the pressure building because I need to be practicing all my material for the World Collegiate Sales Open so I represent NIU to the best of my abilities but it is tough to make this my top priority when I have homework, projects, quizzes, upcoming exams, board meetings and chapter meetings taking up time.

In the past two weeks I’ve capitalized on one of the perks of my job; free coffee. I still won’t classify myself as a coffee drinker (hate the taste) but it’s a cost effective way for me to get my caffeine fix so professors aren’t staring at my eye lids in class. I’m not trying to convey that I don’t like my classes, they are very interesting and I enjoy the material. But let’s face it, when you don’t have a whole lot of time to sleep the most interesting material in the world won’t keep you awake. Not this guy anyway.  I have several friends who are under just as much pressure with activities and feeling similarly overwhelmed, so I know I’m not alone.  It’s been more than worth it being as active and involved as I am and even though it’s tough, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

A former professor of mine tells us, “work hard; play hard.” I think it’s a fair mentality to have, working hard all week and having great times on the weekend with your friends. I don’t even care at this point how much sleep I’m getting or am not getting. I take a new direction in life three months from now so I have to squeeze every last drop out of college life while I can.

Duck, Duck, …Geese!

My dad graduated from NIU in the early 80s and when he was bringing me to campus for orientation and my private tour given by him and his knowledge of campus one of the memories he shared was that of William the Goose. He said everyone on campus knew William; it was as if he was the school’s unofficial mascot who almost always could be found at the East Lagoon. He even flew around the football field during one of the homecoming games as well. My dad said that despite William running after students, the goose would occasionally hang out by Altgeld and was actually very fond of NIU’s president and vice versa.

To this day if my dad calls on an NIU alum from that time he mentions William the Goose in his introductory sales calls. The memory of ‘NIU’s #1 Alum’ as they say, still lives on today..

Now 30+ years later as I prepare to graduate the relationship students have with the Geese on campus does not cease.  Whether it be the crazy protective goose a few years ago who chased people by the Chick Evans Field House or any of the other geese who can be spotted all over campus. These Geese have joined our generation unlike in my dad’s day. The geese now have a voice in the online social world via Twitter:  @NIUGeese.

Geese for whatever reason are still a humorously popular topic as the Northern Star has published articles about geese, students always have interesting incidents with geese, and now they have 281 followers as of February 13, 2012. It is only going to continue to grow as the NIU Geese turn out to be pretty comical with such posts as:

  • “I dream of the day when a goose can serve our country as president”
  • #30thingsaboutme 18. I have a higher vertical than Michael Jordan. If only I had hands to hold a ball!”
  • #30thingsaboutme 22. I enjoy chasing freshman around campus”
  •  “If Red Bull #GivesYouWings what does it give us? Maybe a weird third wing like the one my cousin Leroy was born with? #creepy”

What might be funnier than some of @NIUGeese’s individual tweets are the conversations they are carrying with people in the NIU community. Topics range from telling football fans that the Geese keep up with workouts in case Coach Doeren needs any wide receivers, all the way to students mockingly suggesting skinny dipping with the geese and not condoning drinking and flying.

If you’re on twitter and enjoy following something that will give you a laugh make sure you follow @NIUGeese.ducksoup 300x172 Duck, Duck, ...Geese!