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Jan. 23, 2019

Norrlyn Allen: Knowing yourself and your worth

Jan. 16, 2019

Norrlyn Allen is a senior in the Residential College in the Arts & Humanities.

Norrlyn Allen wears many hats: restorative justice facilitator in the Lansing Public School district, an ambassador for the Residential College in the Arts & Humanities and an undergraduate research assistant studying the mental health of men in the African-American community.

While these, among his many feats, put him in the ranks of the most accomplished students, Norrlyn has his own unique definition of student success.

“Student success, to me, isn’t even academic anymore,” Allen says. “It’s discovering self-love and enjoying what you do and finding your passion wholeheartedly.”

Norrlyn, who eventually would like to do arts-based therapy after graduation, is a singer and poet with a background in theatre.

Norrlyn most recently performed with Eric Thomas, the critically acclaimed author and speaker for MSU’s Success Series. The Success Series is a weekly program geared towards motivating and inspiring MSU students through Q&A sessions with Thomas where he speaks about topics that are designed to enhance their academic, personal and professional lives.

“My goal is to promote emotional expression,” Allen said. “I know that there’s someone in the audience who is dealing with something that I’ve dealt with. Publicizing my struggles isn’t about me but about them.”

Since coming to MSU, Norrlyn has served the university and Lansing community in a variety of roles. He is currently a TRiO mentor for students from various backgrounds, an RCAH ambassador to recruit students for the college, and was most recently an intercultural aid, that helped him in his pursuits of student success.

“It helped me value culture and taught me to have energy in my encounters,” Allen says. “It made me more of an empath because people felt so comfortable to walk in my room and open up to me about their problems or what they were going through.”

Additionally, Norrlyn was an ambassador for the American Semester Program where he helped students from foreign countries get acclimated to MSU. He also was a wide-receiver for the Lansing Capitol City Stealth, a minor-league football team.

Studying abroad in Mexico in 2016 was a defining moment for Norrlyn as it allowed him to look at the world from a different perspective where he wanted to come home and make change within his own community.

In the future, Norrlyn hopes to get married, travel to every continent and utilize his life experiences through cinema. When asked why he believes he’s reached a great deal of student success, Norrlyn attributed it to his friends and his faith.

“There were times where I didn’t believe in anything else but my faith in a greater being than myself,” Allen says. “My brotherhood that I created with these men pouring into me and allowing me to cry on their shoulders has contributed to my student success.”

Story by Kenny Williams Jr. and reused with permission from the Office of Undergraduate Education.