Amber Noorlag: Robert Morris University Amber Noorlag | Robert Morris University

Changing Lives

AMBER_NOORLAGQ: Who has changed your life?
Well, I would say as a whole my rowing team. The coaches and my rowing team, the campus ministers. Rowing team taught me a lot about teamwork and working together. Rowing is the first sport I really learned dedication, teamwork, respect, letting difficulties go and focusing on the task at hand. With campus ministers, more questioning my beliefs and who I am and what I want to do with my life, who I want people to see. These have been my biggest influences. Also, my parents, they taught me that even when things get hard to keep chugging along even when things get hard, not give up and that I can fall back on them and having them to fall back on as a base has allowed me to become successful. At school, their belief in who I am, who I was at the end of high school they were confident in who I could become and what my goals were. They helped me to get where I am now. 

Q: Have you changed someone else’s life?
I’m an RA on campus too, the girls that I have on my floor, it’s become a really great group of girls who see me as a friend and can come talk to me. On my rowing team I have friends who even when they need someone to talk to or depend on, I’m that quiet consistent friend that someone has in their life. There hasn’t been a “you changed my life” story, but I’m the nice friend that has always been there for them. This is someone who I always try to be. 

Q: How did you find out about/choose RMU?
I chose RMU because of the people I knew who already loved and were part of the RMU community. Those people told me about how their lives were being changed and that I would be a great fit for the school. I haven’t looked back since. 

Q: What do you like best about the Elementary Education program?
What I love best about the Elementary Education Department is how small the ratios are from student to teacher. Being able to talk to all of the Professors in comfortable and honest setting allows me to be creative and use my own ideas in situations. All of the professors know every education student by name and want us to become involved in volunteer situations that further develop our field studies. 

Q: How helpful are the faculty members?
Part of the reason that I am so involved in student life is because of the passion and helpfulness of the faculty members. With every idea I have, or question I want to ask, the faculty and staff have an answer and are willing to help me with anything that I might have. 

Q: What would you like to do with your career?
After graduating and working as a teacher, I am almost certain that I will become a reading specialist with further education. My teacher this past year has really opened my passion for working with children who struggle to learn how to read, and I want to take that passion that she has given me and turn it into something that can help others. 

Q: Why would you recommend RMU to other students?
If someone were to ask me whether or not RMU was worth attending, I would give a very animated yes. RMU is growing, yet still has that small community feel that lets everyone become involved and become a leader in their own fashion. I have developed friendships and connections that I know I will not let go of as I graduate in the future and move on to new dreams and destinations. RMU and the people here have changed me into a person that I know can make a difference in the world; everyone needs to know of how RMU can change them. 

Q: What do you think is RMU’s best aspect?
RMU’s best aspect is the people, the community. If you have ever thought that you would just go to college and just pass through without making a big difference, then I would argue that RMU can change that perspective. I have not met one person here who has not changed someone or been changed by just interacting with the faculty and students at RMU. 

Q: If you could describe RMU in one word, what would it be?

Q: What is your favorite on-campus RMU spot?
My favorite spot on RMU campus is probably Romo’s Cafe or, as I know it, Marketplace. It’s my favorite spot because everyone goes there! It’s the hang-out spot. That’s where you can go and find people to talk to, hang out and get food and do your homework when there’s not a lot of people in there. And I love the people that work there too. They’re fun to talk to and they know what you order every day. So it’s one of my favorite spots to go to because you feel welcome!

Q: If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Three words that probably describe me the most are caring, because I love to talk to people and talk to them about problems; hard-working because I’m a perfectionist and always want to put my best effort into everything; and also athletic because I love sports and being outside. 

Q: If you could pick any color that describes you, what would it be?
A color that describes me is blue because it’s very relaxed and it is something I’ve always connected to because I’ve always love the water. 

Q: Think of the first time, or most important/memorable time, when another person changed your life. Tell us that story.
The person that changed my life the most was my friend Jen Phillips from RMU. She was the first person I met when I came here. She’s a year ahead of me so she graduated (this year). We met the first day of band camp because I was in band my first two years of school. She made me connect with who I am, made me realize the things I believe in and connected me with everything that I am involved with today at RMU. She is one of my best friends so she is probably the greatest influence on my life. 

Q: Think of the first time, or most important/memorable time, when you changed another person’s life. Tell us that story.
The first time I realized I changed someone’s life was this year as an RA on campus. I had a lot of students connect with me in my building in ways that I never imagined possible. They started to trust me, come and talk to me, and some began getting involved with things that they otherwise wouldn’t have because I encouraged them to. 

Being an RA is probably one of the biggest ways I’ve realized that I can /impact other people’s lives. It put me in a position where I could be trusted and also meet new people that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise because they were freshman and I was a junior. So probably (some) of the greatest moments in my life(have been) /impacting others on campus. 

Q: And how did that experience change your life?
Being an RA changed my life because it put me in positions that I never thought were possible (for me to be in). It made me step up my leadership skills, plan events, be really scheduled and make sure I put aside time for other things such as talking to people. (It also taught me to) really work with others when I didn’t think it was possible and to put aside my ambitions to (take time) to help others. I also learned to take a step back and realize I needed time for myself. I really learned how to balance things better. 

Q: Think of yourself before you came to RMU, or think about the way your parents or outsiders would have seen you before RMU, and compare that to the way you are now after coming to RMU. How have you changed?
I have a bigger outlook on life and in my ability to go out into the world. After high school, I couldn’t imagine being on my own or being in leadership positions that put me out of my comfort zone. In high school, I stayed in my comfort zone, not testing my abilities or putting myself out there. After coming to RMU, I can see myself moving somewhere away from my family, meeting new people, and putting myself in better positions to grow and become a better person. My professors here really encouraged me to do new things, take up leadership positions and meet new people. And after I graduate next year I feel no qualms about going out there and seeing what life has to offer me because I feel prepared and ready to approach it with a new outlook. 

This summer I am going to be a counselor at a camp in Ligonier, so I will be there with kids for about 10 weeks. I’m really excited because it’s giving me an opportunity to work with kids before I student teach next year. A lot of my recommendations are coming from people at RMU because I’ve been able to make great relationships with the staff here. They know who I am and know my strengths and weaknesses. So it’s exciting to have those people here behind me, encouraging me to do something like this. 

I’m looking forward to be able to talk to these kids and get to know them and see where they come from. Kids today come from so many different backgrounds and life experiences. I am excited to get to know them and encourage them the way I was encouraged when I was younger. I was always told that if I put my mind to something I could do it, so I had that lucky background and childhood. I’m excited to tell other kids that if they work hard and believe in themselves that they can do anything they want. One of my biggest influences for teaching is that I’ve had so many great teachers growing up and at RMU that I’m excited to (be a great teacher too). I’m really excited to be part of a child’s life. 

Q: If you had to describe yourself then and now, how would you say it?
Before RMU I never believed I’d have the courage to get up in front of a room of my peers and speak comfortably but after coming to RMU, through all the classes I’ve taken, I can get up in front of a room of people my own age and speak fine. I never had a problem talking to kids but now I have this communication skill that I never thought I would have. I was really shy before RMU. I can meet new people now and find out more about them. 

Q: What brought you to RMU?
I chose RMU because of the education program. I really like how in the fall (of my senior year), I will be in the classroom before I student teach in the spring. They really encourage you getting involved with schools even when you’re a freshman and sophomore. I also chose it because it’s a smaller school and I have a lot of interests and RMU makes it very easy to get involved with different organizations. 

Q: What type of student would you recommend to RMU and why do you think it would be a good place for them?
If you are the type of person that loves to get involved, loves to be challenged in every possible way in and out of the classroom then RMU is a good fit for you. Everyone is here to work with you and everyone is also here to challenge you and help you decide your future. It’s a great school for anyone willing to work hard and have fun and meet new people. 

Q: Do you think studying elementary education at RMU is any different or better than studying it elsewhere?
Studying education at RMU is one of the better places because it is a smaller program. Because it’s a small program, there’s about 3 or 4 professors that I have had for all of my education classes. They are great teachers, have worked in the area, have experience that they bring to the classroom, and also are great at challenging you at the college level. They want you to succeed. We work with these professors to create clubs such as Robert Morris Educators Advocating Literacy (Real). We go into local elementary schools and after school programs to help kids with homework and testing. It’s a great education program. It is growing and we just got marked up with the next level of certification.

Q: Have you had any internships or professional experience thus far?
This coming year I will be student teaching. In the fall I will be in the elementary school two days a week working with kids and getting comfortable with them and the classroom. By the time I student teach in the spring every day, I will be comfortable enough to take over the classroom and use everything I learned at school. Student teaching is essential to becoming a teacher. If you do really well and find a good school, it will help you find a job. It’s a significant part of everything I’ve worked for thus far. 

Q: You are on the RMU Women’s Crew team. Do you think being a scholar athlete may be an added-value in terms of how you have learned about yourself and/or become better prepared to be a successful professional?
Being a scholar RMU athlete has added to my experience because rowing is something I never thought I would have done before coming to RMU. I walked onto the team as a freshman and it’s challenged me both physically and mentally. I’ve made friendships with the girls on my team that I will have for the rest of my life. When I have to wake up at 5:30 in the morning, all that gets me out of bed is knowing that my team mates are also waking up at 5:30 so that we can go to the water and work as a team to get better and faster. It’s pushed me. I know I can do anything I put my mind to. It’s really helped me education-wise because it’s made me devoted to why I’m at school. My coach advocates education first so it’s always been important to all of us. 

Q: What do you think about the SET?
The SET is something I’m really excited about just because I’m so involved at RMU. It’s an official document that shows everything that I’ve done at school. Even the small stuff such as being in small plays or my community service work or being involved with groups on campus. I could put all that stuff on my resume but putting it on the transcript makes it more official and I’m more excited to show my future employers that I was involved, was on a rowing team and kept good grades. The SET is a great value to RMU because it’s something that other schools don’t have. 

Q: Was financial affordability an important consideration to your family and if so, did RMU helped you find a way to afford your education here?
Affordability was an important factor for my family. I came from a private high school so they were already paying for that tuition. At RMU I was able to find ways to pay for my school. I will probably come out of the school with very little debt. I was able to get scholarships to help pay for school. I’m on a rowing scholarship and also I was able to get scholarships from the Honor’s Program and residence life, among other things. 

Favorite music/band: Sugarland
Favorite TV Show:
Favorite Movie and Actor:
Count of Monte Cristo/ Denzel Washington
Reading, Quilting, Running, Hanging out with friends,
Favorite Food:
Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Biggest Pet Peeve:
Loud chewing