Michael Ian Rabanal is a transfer management major from Carol Stream, IL
Hometown: Carol Stream, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2024
Transfer from: Elgin Community College
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. I loved being in school and the classroom. I enjoyed pretending that I had a classroom library, recreating arts and crafts from class and just being a leader in that setting. Although I am not pursuing this interest as a major, I have taken on a major and minor that share similar characteristics of creativity and leadership.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I am pursuing a bachelor's degree in management with an emphasis in human resources and a minor in marketing. My end goal for my career has always been to land a position that allows me to lead others and lift others up to be their best selves. I originally came to NIU with the intention of studying general business administration, thinking this would be the best major to help me accomplish my career goals. However, after being exposed to core classes for business administration for a few weeks, having several talks with my academic advisor, Steph Horgan, and listening to several guest speakers in my career prep class, I decided I should switch majors. Switching to management with the emphasis in human resources really allows me to be involved in an individual's growth and success. I am also very much a people person, and I love making connections and helping others. A path down human resources seems like a much better fit. I am pursuing a marketing minor to allow me to express my creativity. I have always found marketing to be the "fun" aspect of business and something that really intrigues me!
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
Something I found pleasantly surprising about my experience at NIU was how easy and seamless it was to transfer from another school. Everything academics-wise transferred smoothly from my community college with no problem, as if I have attended NIU since freshman year. Being new to campus this year, I do not feel out of place but rather at home. Everyone has been so welcoming, staff have been nothing but helpful and want to see you succeed, and I have met some amazing people!
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
Being a transfer student who attend my local community college and living in Illinois, I was able to reconnect with old friends from my high school here on campus. Another way I have met new friends here on campus was the Week of Welcome! Through the many various events put on during Week of Welcome, I met my best friends on campus, and we now have such a tight-knit friend group. I could not have been more thankful to have met these amazing individuals! Lastly, I have connected with many of my peers because we are in many of the same classes. When you reach upper-level advising as a management or business administration major, everyone takes the same four core classes. With that being said, it feels like we are in a little "cohort" because you see the same people in those classes, and it is hard not to connect with them.
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?
Although this is my first semester and I am new to campus, I have not shied away from getting involved. I am currently a part of the College of Business Dean's Student Advisory Board (DSAB), Business Administration Student Association (BASA), Management and Business Administration Student Board (MBSAB) and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). As a transfer student, I am also partaking as a mentee in MBSAB's student mentor program. Getting involved has really enriched my experience as a Huskie in numerous ways. For starters, some of the organizations I am part of allow me to help voice student opinions. These organizations also allow me to learn more about my particular interests and really dig deep into my particular field. These organizations are also a great way to build your network, both professionally and socially. On one end, you will meet many people working in your industry and who can open opportunities and doors for you. On the other end, you can meet and form some great friendships!
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
My prospective department, the Department of Management within the College of Business, has been very helpful, and it is evident they want me to succeed. Whether it’s the management professors, academic advisor Steph Horgan or department chair Jon Briscoe, they all want to get to know you personally. You are not just a name on a roster or a letter grade in a grade distribution. They want to get to know you outside of the classroom, and they strive to help you succeed. They actively check up on you to see how you are doing, academically and socially. They strongly care about your academic success and will not leave you behind. I feel strongly supported and know that if I am ever struggling, I have people and resources to turn to within my department. I love our meet-the-faculty mixers because it really allows students and faculty to bond.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
My favorite professor within the College of Business so far has to be Dr. James Burton. Dr. Burton teaches MGMT 335: Managing Individuals, Teams and Organizations. His class is so fascinating, and I always love describing it as "psychology for business majors." His care for his students' success and well-being is always what makes me excited to see him. Although it is a lecture class, he really likes to make it feel like we are in a small classroom: he addresses everyone by name, makes sure everyone is included, and makes such a welcoming and safe environment out of a huge auditorium. What we learn in class really does apply to the outside world. It’s fascinating to learn about, and he always connects it to real-world experiences.
How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
By attending class regularly, I have benefited by staying engaged. It is so easy to lose motivation and not want to go to class or simply to watch a recorded lecture and skip the in-class portion. However, attending classes in person has allowed me to stay engaged; the engagement you get in person and face-to-face is not something you can replicate through a computer screen. You really get more out of attending classes and being able to engage in conversation and simulations, being able to ask questions as soon as they come to mind and being surrounded by your peers.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus has to be my friends' cluster in Patterson Complex (New Hall). Most of my friends all live in the same cluster in Patterson East, so that has become our little hangout spot when we want to get together. My favorite spot in the community probably has to be Cast Iron Coffee. The shop is a great place to get things homework done, has such a cute little study environment to it and has great drinks!
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
My advice to students applying to colleges is to push your comfort zone. College is about finding yourself and having fun. Do not be afraid to push boundaries and try new things. Find a college that opens you to new doors, exposes you to new people and, most importantly, supports you. Your education is the last step before you are out in the real world so while you are here, make sure to take it seriously and seize your opportunities!
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
College really teaches you a lot about time management. Attending classes and coursework does take up a lot of your time but it is also important to take care of yourself. You need to find your balance between your academics, physical health, mental health and your social life. In the midst of being swamped in coursework, do not forget to carve out time for yourself and your friends.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I love listening to usic and hanging out with friends.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
I'm thankful for the opportunity to share my story and I'm proud to be an NIU Huskie. Go Huskies!
P.S. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for helping me get here!