Daniel is a student in Northwestern’s NEXT program, a two-year college experience designed for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. In addition to learning life skills, practical academics and career readiness, Daniel plans to take courses to become a certified nursing assistant so he can offer a helping hand to patients in need.
Recipe for success
I’ve learned a lot of new things in the NEXT program, like how to do laundry and cook by myself. In the kitchen, we’ve made fish tacos, taco salad and BLTs. Shepherd’s pie is my favorite thing to cook, and I’ve made it many times. We’ve also learned how to stay safe when cooking by using oven mitts and being careful with sharp utensils.
One of my favorite things about living in Colenbrander Hall is when the other guys sell candy two or three nights a week. They’ll say, “Candy cart!” and when we hear that, we know it’s coming so we can stock up on candy, Gatorade or snacks. I also like to hang out, watch football or play games with my friends.
The student mentors are really nice with the NEXT program students. They help us write papers, research on the web and study for tests, because they want us to succeed.
Heart for others
I want to become a certified nursing assistant because I care about people and want to help them feel better. Whatever they need, I’ll try to help them as best I can. I’m planning on working in a hospital setting because, when there are emergencies, I’ll be there to give the doctors and patients the support they need.