Jesika Pabello is a computer science major from Bartlett, IL
Hometown: Bartlett, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2025
Major: Computer science
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
As a child, I wanted to be a police officer or in the FBI. I decided to take another path because my parents would always tell me how dangerous it was to be a police officer. Now, I am a computer science major pursuing a minor in psychology.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major is computer science and my minor is psychology. I decided on computer science because I took a coding class in high school and actually liked it. I also had a technology class in my middle school that taught us the basics of coding through code.org. As for my minor, I chose psychology because in high school, I wanted to be a therapist or a psychologist, but my parents discouraged it. Instead of making it my major, I decided that no matter what I major in, I would minor in psychology.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
Something that I found pleasantly surprising about my experience at NIU are the events that I've gone to. I've gone to football games, Night at Holmes, trivia nights, bingo nights and many other events here on campus. They're all events that happen at around 7 p.m., which is after most classes have ended. Almost everyone I know goes to the football games, even the ones that are on Saturday. I know people who specifically call off to go to those games.
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
One of the best ways to meet new people is to just go up to them. There are people I've noticed who are in almost all the same classes as me, so I go up to them and tell them just that. I tell them I've seen them in a couple of my classes and introduce myself. I also use discord to meet new people. As a computer science student, there's actually a discord for computer science majors where you can talk with people in your classes or talk with other computer science students.
Are you involved in any student organizations, mentoring programs or extra-curricular activities? If so, which ones? How have they added to your experience as a Huskie?
I am part of the University Honors Program. As an Honors student, there are classes that are meant for Honors students and opportunities that are limited to Honors students. One of those opportunities was something called Mental Health First Aid Training. I was taught to put mental health first and how to help others when it comes to their mental health. I even got a certificate saying that I’m certified in mental health first aid. As a college student, being certified like that is important because mental health is very important, and college can strain one's mental health.
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
The Department of Computer Science has been very helpful. The TAs are great at explaining things when you can't understand your code or an assignment.
What Honors Program opportunities or support have helped you get closer to your academic or career goals so far?
The Honors Program has scholarships specifically for Honors students. These scholarships have helped me worry less about financial things and focus more on classes and passing them. The scholarships allow me to focus on academics and my career goals.
What do you enjoy the most about the Honors Program?
I enjoy the people I've met through the Honors Program. Everyone I've met through the program wants me to succeed. They’ll be more than happy to help you if you need help succeeding, too.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
One of my favorite instructors is Amy Byrnes. She was my professor in CSCI 240: Computer Programming in C++ last semester. The reason I liked her is because she was very understanding and funny. She was also a pretty down-to-earth person. She understood that the people taking the class probably have never coded before or it's their first time using the C++ language. She answers questions very thoroughly and is more than happy to point things out for you.
How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
By attending class regularly, I benefit with a better understanding of the material taught. There was one time I didn't go to my math class because I wasn't feeling well. I had someone send me the notes to that class, and looking at the notes that person took, I couldn't understand it. When I went to recitation for that class the next day, I was able to understand the material more. If I had gone to class that day, I know I would have understood the notes sent to me.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus is Founders Library, specifically the second-floor seats near the windows. I like it because it gives you a nice view of campus. You can see the big red NIU sign in the middle of MLK Commons. You can see people passing as they go to and from class. You can see tours being given. It allows me to see NIU and its people.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
Find what is right for you and what you want. People will give you advice and tell you things, and you can listen to them and take what they say into account. The big thing you want to remember is that you're the one going to college, not them. You're going to be the one experiencing all the different things that college has to offer.
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Coming to college, something that I had to learn to do differently was managing my time. I was already pretty good at managing my time in high school because I was in many different clubs/organizations and was also in sports. Coming to college, I had more time than I normally had, which was really different than what I was used to.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I like to take naps whenever I can to try and recharge. When I need to relax, I listen to music.