Categories & Search ↓

All posts by Danielle Laban

Danielle Laban

About Danielle Laban

Danielle is the Director of Student Experience at National Louis. She's an experienced student affairs professional who is focused on student success. Danielle earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Northern Colorado and her Master of Arts at Roosevelt University.

Calm Stress By Adding Serene Moments of Pleasure Written by: Patti Essig, Response Center, NLU Lisle Campus

RelaxSlowDownHow to Manage Stress. It seems like so many of us today experience stress in our lives. As a yoga teacher I know practicing yoga regularly helps to manage stress. However, there are some very simple techniques to manage stress and lessen its negative effects.

Look Inward: Spend a few quiet minutes every day meditating or practicing mindfulness; this will help ease anxiety and lower stress hormones.

Get Moving:  Be physically active for 20 to 30 minutes each day, says Ronald Petersen, MD, PhD, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. Choose an activity you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, practicing yoga, bicycling, kickboxing, aerobics, or doing tai chi. Anything that gets you moving vigorously will help reduce stress – but check in with your physician before starting any exercise program.

Binge on Big Bang Theory Reruns. Anything that makes you laugh makes you feel good – and some evidence even suggests that laughter can deactivate stress hormones.

Tune In To Mellow Music. Music has a powerful effect on the brain, and can release calming hormones, reducing stress, says Mark Gudesblatt, MD, a neurologist at South Shore Neurologic Associates in Patchogue, NY.

Strengthen Friendships. There is strong evidence that being socially active boosts cognitive ability, says Gary Small, MD, professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences. “Interacting with other people helps us avoid feelings of loneliness, which may protect the brain, since associating with others appears to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, even if you like being alone,” Dr. Small said.

“Becoming and staying socially engaged may reduce your risk for dementia by as much as 60%.” (Reference adapted from Neurology Now, April/May 2015.)

Also, new research shows that if you pick a meaningful goal that takes months or even years to reach, your life will feel more purposeful and gratifying. But if we don’t give our brains small daily rewards, stress levels build up and motivation decreases.

The solution: a few seconds of pleasure will refresh the brain and increase productivity.
Here are six ideas of one-minute pleasure breaks you can do every hour throughout the day to increase motivation and success.

  1. Do something physically pleasurable. Slowly stretch. Run your fingers through your hair. Wash your face. Or yawn: It’s a great way to massage your brain.
  2. Recall a pleasant memory. Visualize someone you love or an event that brought you deep satisfaction. Think about a beautiful place you’ve been. Immerse yourself in the memory, and you’ll notice that your body relaxes and your mind becomes serene.
  3. Think about something you’ve accomplished in the past year and savor the satisfaction it brought you.
  4. Think about one thing you feel grateful about and notice how it makes you feel.
  5. Meditate on a word that captures one of your deepest personal or spiritual values. Repeating that word will turn on 1,200 stress-reducing genes!
  6. Give yourself a compliment.

Sixty seconds of pleasure once each hour–that’s all it takes to increase motivation, happiness, satisfaction and success.

Thanks to Mark Waldman from Loyola Marymount University and Andrew Newberg from Jefferson University Hospital for these simple but powerful techniques. These two gentlemen are world-renowned for their neuroscientific research and authors of “Words Can Change Your Brain.” They also write for Science of Mind Magazine ( where this information was published.

Enjoy your successful and stress-free journey.

You Learn Differently From Others, So Find Your Learning Style Did you know there are five ways to take notes?

By Amanda DaSilva, Associate Director of Student Development

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 4.33.04 PMWelcome back to school, NLU Eagles!

While it’s hard to believe, the time has come to trade the beach for the books. Are you ready to retire as grillmaster and adjust back to student mode? Getting a jump on effective study skills can ease this transition and make you productive from the start!

Reflecting on your study habits, what has worked well for you? Are there areas where you want to change the routine? Learning is impacted by many factors, including some that you might be overlooking. Check out the resources below to assess your current study methods and gain tips for more effective studying this year.

  1. Study within your preferred Learning Style: Are you trying to memorize concepts aloud when seeing pictures would work better? Do you ever feel like the information is just not sinking in? Take this short quiz to discover your preferred style and find ways to study that fit you.
  2. Manage your environment: What distractions could be getting in the way of your best studying? Explore these easy techniques to enhance your study setting for better academic performance.
  3.  Listen Up! How do your listening skills measure up when facing a long lecture? Brush up on the basics and add some new tools to your skillset so you’re finely tuned for Fall.
  4. Take notes like a pro: Did you know there are multiple note-taking styles, and (see #1) using the one that best fits you can make learning quicker and less stressful? Check out this fun video to explore a new style and uncover your secret study weapon.
  5. Use your resources: NLU offers customized study support, tutoring and more through Library and Learning Services,

NLU is eager to help make this your best term yet. Now put down the popsicle and get to work!

Fill your Tool Belt to Build a Healthy School Year By: Danielle Colletti, Graduate Student and Wheeling Response Center

College is an exciting time when we work on building who we are and who we wish to become. However, like any new project, we needed to be armed and ready with the right tools needed to make our next endeavor a success. Look no further– let’s load your tool belt with great tips to help you stay healthy and organized throughout your college career and beyond!


Purchase one of these right away so that you can begin using it the first day of the term! Better yet, pick one up on campus on 9/14! Take your syllabi and add all the due dates and assignments to your calendar. This way you know what is ahead of you and can plan accordingly. With this, make a to-do list each day with the most important tasks at the top. Set goals. Try to keep this with you at all times. This is something that I do each day to make sure that I am on top of all my tasks for school, work, and personal life. Make it fun and reward yourself with something special for completing everything on the list. Don’t forget to schedule time to relax!


Find out what time of the day you are most productive. Are you a night owl who gets all their work done before bed, or are you a rooster who likes to get up with the sun and complete some work to start your day? Once you have learned what time works best for you, try to keep a routine!

  1. EAT SMART TO BE SMARTwellnesswordle

Be sure to eat breakfast; it is the most important meal! Breakfast gives you the fuel and focus to tackle the day ahead. Always keep some healthy snacks with you such as almonds, fruits, veggies, yogurt, granola, even popcorn! Be sure to stay hydrated with a lot of water throughout the day. Try to avoid energy drinks. Instead have a cup of black coffee, juice or a smoothie! Know that it is okay to indulge every once in a while.


Do your best to fit in exercise whenever you can and try to make it a routine! Whether it is taking the long walking route to campus or taking the stairs, every bit will help you stay active and relieve stress. If possible, join a gym and get a buddy to do it with you! Two is always better than one when it comes to exercise and motivation. Always remember to stop and embrace the beauty around you.


We often look for ways to avoid getting sick. Here are a few: Never underestimate a good night’s sleep. Trying to establish a night time routine will work wonders for you in the morning. Remember not to do homework in your bed. Your brain needs to know that when you are in bed it is time to relax and sleep. Take vitamins. Lastly, be sure to remember to wash your hands (especially after using public transportation!)


College courses can certainly bring on a lot of stress so DO NOT be afraid to ask for help! There are plenty of resources at National Louis to help you make the transition to college a success. With this, identify the resources you have outside of the classroom.   Find relief from school in your hobbies, university events, family and friends.

With your tool belt full and your eyes set on the goal, you are ready to build your future! Best of luck!

Future Employers Will Read Your Social Media of Today Students, be SMART the next time you tweet, check in, and share

By Danielle Laban, NLU’s Director of Student Experience

SocialMediaillustrationYou know social media have grown phenomenally over the past few years, but do you know just how much? And how it will affect your paycheck after you graduate?

Usage of general social media has increased nationally by almost 1,000% within the last decade, especially by those between 18 and 29 years of age, according to the Pew Research Center.  According to a survey conducted by UCLA, 27.2 percent of students spent more than six hours per week on some form of social media in 2014, up from 19.9 percent in 2007.

Also, data presented by, a leader in the employment industry, communicated that 86% of employers are checking social media before they grant an interview. Moreover, today 94% of grad schools inquire about a student’s online posts.

It’s important to start thinking about how your presence on social media can influence your professional trajectory as you work through college as a budding professional. It’s important to think strategically about how you can keep your personality alive, while not scaring away potential internships or job opportunities. Here’s some food for thought as you make your online “footprint” the next time you tweet, check in, and share:

  1. Delete any negative or controversial posts, check-in locations, and pictures.
  2. Employers and university personnel can do an internet search of your profile.
  3. Remember that the internet is not a secure place. For example, when using the Snap Chat technology, individuals can take screenshots of what you send them. So be careful of what you send to your peers via social media.
  4. Make a decision to let someone whose opinion you value highly (parents, favorite aunt, mentor, etc.) provide you feedback on what you want to post on social media.
  5. Set up a Google Alert for your name, so when a photo of you has been tagged or anyone mentions your name, you will know.
  6. Highlight and post about the events, programs or student clubs you participate in at NLU. If you volunteer, attend campus activities, or learn something new in class, be sure to write about it online. Make it your Facebook status or Tweet about it, or better yet start a blog about how awesome your experience is with NLU.

Why College is Life of Pie, And How To Get Your Ice Cream College is the time to join a club, try something new, make a friend

french apple pie tarte ice cream

By Danielle Laban, NLU Director of Student Experience

College is like apple pie. Apple pie is always better a-la-mode, with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream!

One of the greatest shifts you’ll experience coming from high school to college is the variety of choices available to you, all of which are optional and extra opportunities to grow and have fun beyond the classroom! With great freedom comes a risky trap some students fall into, which is not participating in any of the extra activities, events, or programs. Continue reading »

How to Survive your First Year of College These insider tips can help things go well


By Danielle Laban, NLU’s Director of Student Experience

This is a really exciting time for you. I remember the summer before I started college, I felt so free and on top of the world! I was excited about moving on to new challenges and experiencing new things. Let’s kick the new school year off with advice to help you survive your first year of college from someone who’s done it and who’s made a living out of working closely with college students. Your story is just getting started;  let’s begin that first chapter! Continue reading »

Grow your Student Experience this Spring; Give Back, Too The Winter blues are over, and we've planned plenty to get you out and about with your NLU Family with anything from service projects and professional development, to concerts and family art!

140512-NLU-CHICAGO-CAMPAS-MICHIGAN-AVE-41_smallIt’s spring outside. It might finally be here to stay. Around National Louis, it feels like things are just getting started. There are so many things to look forward to this term and we’re certain to keep you busy until the glory days of summer are upon us. Spring at National Louis is easy as 1, 2, 3.

#1 – Treat Yourself to Some Enlightenment & Professional Development

  • April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and activities are well under way. We will be focusing on important topics such as Healthy Relationships, Dating Violence, and Bystander Intervention. National Louis is actively working on policy changes, programming and training to ensure we have a safe and respectful environment for student learning.
  • Online Webinars are scheduled in April and May for the following topics: Domestic Violence, Overcoming Procrastination, and Making the Transition from Student to Professional. Join us from the comfort of home or work!
  • Is your LinkedIn profile polished, professional and ready to impress employers? Workshops are scheduled in Chicago, Wheeling, and Lisle the last week of April. Do not miss this opportunity, as it will help you prepare for the Spring Career Expo in Chicago on May 12th.

#2 – Show a Little Love to your Community

  • Donate to the NLU USO Drive and Support our Troops as we collect donations to send care packages overseas.
  • Join the Office of Student Experience during our Month of Service in May for a variety of community service projects including: assembling safe sex kits on May 6th, donating blood at the Lisle campus on May 13th, or visiting a high school and speaking to minority students on May 15th.
  • Looking for other ways to volunteer, or not sure what’s out there? Stop by the Virtual Volunteer Fair! Our Civic Engagement Team will be in Chicago April 28-30 from 12-6pm in the 6th floor Student Center. Not convinced? Check out our webinar Lead as You Lend a Hand on May 4th at 12pm where we will discuss how and why NLU students should be civically engaged.

#3 – Be a Part of the Inspiring NLU Family

  • April is also dedicated to Faculty Appreciation. Please take a minute to nominate a great faculty member for our annual Excellence in Teaching Award, post a Shout Out to recognize a faculty member who inspires you, and post a #nlufaculty selfie on Twitter with your favorite faculty!
  • Give back to NLU and become a SafeZone Ally. This special training program equips our students, faculty and staff with the opportunity to support the LGBTQ community on campus. RSVP:
  • Our NLU Family Day at the Art Institute of Chicago is May 16th.  All NLU community members and their guests will be granted free access to the museum. May 16th is also the Art Institute’s Family Festival; there will be activities all day for the whole family.
  • Join us for a little musical fun as we see RAIN: A Beatles Tribute at the Bank of America Theater. These Broadway in Chicago tickets will be on sale in May for $10. A limited number is available so let’s Come Together for a great night on May 21st.
  • For our graduating students, you will not want to miss Countdown to Graduation on May 27th in Chicago and May 28th in the suburbs (Lisle). Get your picture taken in a cap and gown, pick up a special graduation gift, and there will be fun activities for the whole family. Look for more details soon!

All Work and No Play There's more to life as a student beyond that computer, textbook, and classroom.

Everywhere you look, there’s a flyer trying to catch your attention, a text with the latest news, and an email asking you stop by an event. You’re a busy student, so why should you stop and take notice of the events and activities on campus?

Being a college student is such a special opportunity. Not only are you a sponge for new information, but are also gazing dreamily towards your professional future. No matter your age, being a student is exciting as you work hard and diligently towards a more knowledgeable and skilled you.

Thinking back to my college experience as a young undergrad, often the first memories that come to mind are the interesting people I met and the experiences I had. College is not only a place where you can build your skills and learn the content necessary to advance yourself professionally, it’s a place where you can experience pride. Pride in your achievements, pride in the opportunities to challenge yourself to experience new things, pride in the educational home you’ve chosen for yourself.

While I had a traditional college experience of living in the dorm, working on campus as an orientation leader, and changing my major half a dozen times I look back with strong emotions of pride. When I sit here writing this blog, I’m reflecting on a few of the fondest and proudest memories:

  • Being recognized for outstanding female leadership on campus
  • Matt, one of my closest friends started out as my RA
  • Serving as a campus sexual assault advocate
  • Learning the art of walking backwards while giving campus tours
  • Volunteering at a local women’s shelter

You may not realize it today, but the experiences you’re having will become the emotions you will experience when you reflect on your time here.  Some of the examples I shared are silly, but they demonstrate just how each interaction and each experience is an opportunity.

I challenge you to think about how you’ll look back on your time at NLU. There are many ways you can get involved. Join or start a student organization, become a Safe Zone ally, attend professional development workshops, participate in the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success, join us for a family friendly event, or volunteer on campus.

Do not miss out on the opportunities you have today to meet new people and experience new things, all in a journey of developing a greater you. After all, you’re already on that path; why not put a little icing on the cake?

Looking to experience more? Contact

How to be Merry & Bright During the Holidays Valuable Advice from the NLU Counseling Center

snowmansandThe holiday season is filled with expectations of cheer and bliss.  From decorations and carols to gift-giving and time with family, the messages we receive are that we should be jolly during this time of year.  For many people, however, the holidays can bring about a great amount of stress and anxiety. Oftentimes there is an unspoken pressure to buy just the right gift to make your loved one happy.  Other times it’s reconnecting with family that brings up difficult feelings, unhealed wounds.  Just beneath the surface of society’s messages of abundant bliss and good cheer is the reality that with joy comes sorrow.

Continue reading »

Meet the National Louis counseling team; they are here to help you!

Did you know that National Louis offers counseling services? With free support groups and mental health workshops, as well as affordable individual, couple and family counseling, there are plenty of ways to get extra support this school year.

Ask Us Anything
One quick way to get support is to send an email to with any question that you have. Your question will be answered within 24 hours by our trained counselors and you may find the answers, resources or relief that you are looking for. No question is too strange, and you might be surprised that you’re not the only one with the same concern!

Meet Your Counselors
The counselors at the NLU Counseling Center are well trained and dedicated to bringing lasting change to people’s lives. They are empathic, creative and focused on helping individuals, couples and families develop insight and health. Any of them are available for consultation. Simply email for more information.

Counseling1David Klow, LMFT
David is the owner of Skylight Counseling Center and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. David works creatively and collaboratively, drawing on ancient wisdom and modern practices to bring lasting transformation to people’s lives.

Counseling2Kristen Snell-Anzalone, LPC
Kristen works with adults, children, and couples.  Her focus is on individuals with histories of trauma, depression/mood disorders, parent-child attachment problems, spirituality, and women’s issues, particularly perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, work-life balance, and mind-body-spirit integration.

Counseling3Kathleen Farrell, AMFT
Kathleen believes that change comes from within.  As an experienced, compassionate therapist she has had tremendous success at empowering clients to effect positive change.  In addition to being a therapist, Kathleen is a certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer. She values the connection between the mind and body and enjoys working with clients to strengthen this connection.

Counseling4Kevin Lanham, LPC
Kevin focuses on empathically tuning into the client’s story and collaborating with the individual to create transformative change. Kevin aims to meet the needs of each client and discover how therapy will produce change in his or her life. Kevin’s interests include working with men, couples, anger management, depression, communication skills, and developing a sense of self-worth.

Counseling5Kate Engler, AMFT
Kate works with couples, families and individuals from diverse populations who want to live more fulfilling lives by addressing and helping to solve relationship challenges. She has a particular interest in working with those experiencing life transitions such as adolescents, couples moving into new phases of their relationship, and women exploring the “what’s next” in their lives.

Counseling6Johanna Davenport, Clinical Intern
Johanna works with adults, couples and families from diverse backgrounds who are seeking therapy to improve their lives. She focuses on individuals who have a history of trust issues, problematic relationships, substance abuse, work-life balance, depression, anxiety, low-self esteem, and transitions, particularly with twenty-somethings.

Our Next Event
Please join us for the next Mental Health & Wellness Workshop on Monday, October 27th from 4pm-5pm in the Chicago Campus Atrium. This month’s topic is on how to deal with feeling alone. When we can relate deeply and effectively with others, we become more effective in our lives, academics and work. Yet most of us don’t know the skills to be our best in our relationships with others. Learn how to instantly touch, move and inspire others and become more effective in your relationships with teachers, classmates and loved ones. More information is online available here.

This is a Free event. RSVP and join us for a chance to win a $25 e-campus gift card.