UNREASONABLE Be Jacob Ferguson , 2015 OM&IS Alumnus

Jacob Ferguson, 2015 OM&IS Alumnus
Corps Member at City Year, Chicago, IL
Hometown: Tinley Park, IL
Quick Career Bio
(Start date: 3 months after
graduation.) I currently have the honor
and privilege to serve as a Corps
Member at City Year in Chicago along
with over 200 other individuals in an
effort to help students and schools
succeed. We work to bridge the
gap in high-poverty communities
between the support that students
need, and what their schools are
designed and resourced to provide.
With City Year, I work full-time on
a team with other Corps Members
and our Team Leader. Together, we
provide students with academic
support and after school programming
focusing on the areas of attendance,
behavior and course performance.
You chose a different path
after graduation…
I decided to choose
a job that allowed me to
make a difference and give
back to my community
right after college because
it is something that has
Who is your hero and why?
This answer changes daily. There
are probably a million people that I can
say come to mind when asked this
question, but the one that sticks out the
most in mind my is my mother Cheryl.
My father passed away when I was in
high school, and she really took it upon
herself to ensure that we got everything
we needed to succeed. She has always
challenged me to do my best and has
been an intricate part in helping me to
become the man I am today. I honestly
don’t know where I would be without
her and all that she is done for me.
Describe your most meaningful/
favorite experience at NIU.
I would have to say being involved.
There were so many opportunities and
experiences that I was able to take
advantage of simply as a result of being
involved. NIU already has a student
organization for nearly everything, and
if they don’t, they highly encourage
you to create your own. In many ways,
being involved is also where I learned
and grew the most during my time at
NIU. It provides a great opportunity
to apply the skills that I learned in the
classroom. It’s something that I believe
every student should take advantage of.
What did you learn about
yourself at NIU?
I learned a lot about who I am and
the person that I aspire to be. I had
the opportunity to experience a lot of
different things: from traveling to other
countries to taking a stand against
social issues. Each experience has
made me better in some way. I think a
lot about what my life would have been
like had I not attended NIU, and I can
honestly say that going to NIU was one
of the best decisions that I ever made.
Name three things you
want to do in life:
1. Hike the Appalachian Trail.
An alumnus and friend from NIU
actually did this after graduation.
Ever since I talked to him about
doing it, it has moved to the top
of my bucket list. The thrill of
being engulfed by nature, having
time away from the world to
reflect and grow as a person
and building relationships with
people you would otherwise
have never had the opportunity
to meet really resonates with
me. I am actually considering
doing this after my year of
service with City Year is up.
2. Paddle board in Bora Bora.
This is a recent addition to my
bucket list, but I mean come
on…how awesome does this
sound? Plus, sleeping in an
over-water bungalow sounds
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Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution. Produced by authority of the State of Illinois. www.niu.edu 46312 10/15
always been important to me and
close to my heart. At a young age I
learned the importance of volunteerism.
That value has remained important
to me through the years. Another
reason is that I personally know there
will never be another time in my life
when I have as few commitments as
I do now. Also, I’m of the belief that
if I serve now, I am increasing the
odds that these types of issues will
not be around when I am older.
Tell us your “Why?”
I’m just a young individual from
Chicago trying to build my legacy and
be remembered for the impact that
I have on others and on the world. I
view my life as a series of adventures.
Some are longer and far more thrilling
than others, but they all ultimately help
to depict the journey. And they all are
guided by a mantra that we followed
as students in an NIU student group—
NIU CAUSE—that I participated in with
so many friends and kindred spirits.
That mantra is “be unreasonable.”
Be unreasonable enough to believe
that you can make a positive impact
in the world. Be unreasonable
enough to go after your dreams.
Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution. Produced by authority of the State of Illinois. www.niu.edu 46312 10/15
like an extraordinary experience.
3. Sky dive. This is probably the
most realistic item on my bucket
list of the three. I think it is fair
to say that I will have this one
crossed off by next summer.
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