I have the desire to attend a university where I can experience a home away from home. As a current high school student in Chicago, I found that I truly appreciate the several cultural backgrounds, the ethnically diverse urban setting, and the student body in my high school that is accepting of differences. After taking classes with other students who came from various backgrounds, I was able to develop an open mindset that allowed me to respect individual opinions whether I agree with them or not. Diversity is found in more than just the color of someone’s skin or the language they speak, it’s in the attitudes and mindsets we offer in order to change and impact our world. I’ve become understanding of the ideas and lifestyles that my peers have brought to the table and I hope to inspire others with my own qualities as well. Living on a uniquely crafted campus allows its students to fully engage with others in ways where they can build and learn from one another. I am convinced that Northern Illinois University offers just that. During my time at NIU I intend to not only influence others but also take advantage of the endless opportunities offered for my intended major, computer science. Technology is constantly developing and it’s forcing our society to stay up to date with the advances that change the way we think, interact, and live our everyday lives. I aim to become an expert in this field of study and propose new, innovative ideas and designs for a thriving industry. Enrolling in the rigorous courses offered at NIU will challenge me to think about informational technology in a different light that I would have before. That being said, I’ll be able to enter the workforce fully prepared to apply the critical thinking skills I will have mastered. I’m also eager to get involved in the study abroad program. I know that the enriching experiences will open doors to several career opportunities. Adulthood doesn’t tolerate lack of effort to advance and strengthen our weaknesses yet my greatest struggle has been developing a growth mindset after failing a task or assignment. I’ve always been the type of person that wanted success from the very start in order to feel that any accomplishment was good enough and worth my time. The unsatisfactory feeling of failure overwhelmed me. I believed that if the first time didn’t work out for me, then the second time wouldn’t be any better. Throughout high school I realized that was false. Even if I do put all of my effort into something the very first time, there is always room for improvement. It gives me the opportunity to find new strategies and solutions that work for me. Without that I wouldn’t be able to grow as a student or an athlete. My time spent in class has strengthened the confidence I have to showcase my thinking and participate in class discussions even when I have a large audience in front of me. From experience, I know that I learn best when I’m able to freely communicate with the teacher and the students around me. It reassures me that my voice is being heard and taken into consideration. Through this I’ve gained both independence and professionalism in the way I present myself and the work I complete. When I need answers, I find them. When I need help, I make sure I go to the right people so that I can learn from them. Through this I set an example for those who are struggling and then help them through their journey. My ability to take action when I need to refocus has reinforced my leadership skills as a student and as a member on my high school’s basketball team. It’s evident to my teammates and coaches that my passion for the game doesn’t just end when I step foot off the court. I lead by example. I’m a student athlete who puts focus and emphasis on integrity and respect. I always make sure that my teammates are leading by example and they do the same for me. Our individual success is just as important to us as our team’s success. Being a part of this team has shown me that the progress of other people is just as important as my own. Becoming aware of the ways to benefit from one another is crucial to good leadership. I will continue to be a leader and make it through life’s challenges as I take the next step after high school.