A Bright Light

By Sarah Methuselah

In just a few short weeks the sidewalks, hallways, and classrooms at the University of Northern Colorado will be filled with eager students who are ready to take on the new school year.  Soon, one of the major academic buildings on campus, Candelaria Hall, or more affectionately called Candyland, will be bustling with students. Future anthropologists, educators, and politicians are among the many who will be taking steps in their education to make their dream career become a reality.  Yet for now, Candelaria Hall is silent, and one woman is soaking up the last few weeks of the calm before the storm.

Terri Ball is the Online Program Coordinator and Administrative Assistant II in the School of Communication at UNC. Ball is one of the first faces students and staff see when they enter the School of Communication office located in Candelaria Hall. She has been working for the university for almost 10 years, and has loved every second of her job.  

A large portion of Ball’s job is to help students in the School of Communication meet with advisors, change their academic course, and guide the students in the right direction based on their individual needs. Many of her days are spent assisting and having fun exchanges with animated students in her department. She aims to help advise each student towards the right track for their unique college career.

Each of Ball’s interactions with students is filled with encouragement and radiating positivity. She realizes that college can be a trying time for many students, and wants to offer a positive mindset to encourage those around her. Her uplifting attitude is contagious, and Ball simply just wants to make a small impact on the students who enter her office.

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Ball loves being involved in young adults lives during a time in which they are filled with hope and excitement about their future careers. “It’s really a blessing, I think to be able to just tap into that world for a while, and maybe encourage and help advise,” Ball said grinning while looking into the distance, as if recalling memories of past students. “I really do love that part of it. I love the interactions I have with students; it’s definitely my favorite part. I wouldn’t stay if it wasn’t for that.”

Ball’s positive mindset feeds students and staff in the office who receive continuous encouragement and guidance throughout the tough academic year. Likewise, Ball develops a warm feeling in her heart. Attempting to describe the warm feeling that engulfs Ball when she spreads positivity was a challenge, yet the feeling is joyful she said. It’s a sensation that gives her security knowing that there are kind people in the world, and that she gets to contribute to the reservoir of kindness.

On a few occasions, students have returned the acts of kindness, bringing cookies and cards to the School of Communication office, as well as directly to Ball. Frequently between classes, students will even come into the office to spend time with Ball and the professors, or grab a handful of candy from the candy jar. During these times, Ball gets to know the students on a deeper level.

“I honestly, in my heart, love people.” Ball said. “I think when I get the opportunity to have a conversation, get to know another person, it brings me joy. And I’m interested in what they’re doing and what their life’s about, and I think it brings me happiness.”

Ball said UNC has a unique environment and the university’s atmosphere has helped contribute to her positive outlook. UNC is a relatively small university serving approximately 12,000 students. The culture, varying age ranges, and the small atmosphere create a good energy, Ball said.

It is an active and conscious choice for Ball to choose kindness each day. The generosity and kind acts of others inspires Ball to pay it forward. On days when she struggles to remain positive, Ball turns to her faith. For Ball, her faith is the core of who she is, and without it she feels she would be lost. Additionally, Ball chooses positivity because she cannot fathom being continually grumpy or negative. She wishes that people would walk through life with a more positive perspective and be more community focused. Ball knows that one act of kindness from a stranger has the ability to impact her greatly, and wants to bring the same impact to those in the School of Communication.



Shreyas Hariharan