TRANSFERmation Tuesday: Michael Grabowy “You Put Heart into This School, You Get Heart Back”

Michael sitting on a stone outside.

Today we feature senior Michael Grabowy, an adult learner double major in Physical Education and Health Studies from Vineland, NJ (Cumberland County). Michael transferred to Rowan from Cumberland County College. 

Tell me about your experience at Rowan.

I love Rowan. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be here. All of the students and faculty here. With the time that I have been here it is beautiful to see the changes that have been made on campus.  

Michael standing outside.

Why did you choose your major?

I like coaching swimming. I coached at Vineland High School as an assistant coach for the boys, coached ALMA girls swim and Vineland YMCA Seals for about 20 years including lifeguarding. I love coaching so now it is time to take the next step and become a gym teacher and coach.

Michael standing outside.

Tell me about a professor that made you feel like you were cared for?

Professor Fapiano. This gentleman was a great professor. I had him for two classes and during those classes he taught us that you need to relax. His big philosophy was that you need to take a cigar break. What that entails is to go out and enjoy ten minutes outside, reset your body, soul and go back to whatever you have to do.

He would always ask about you and how you were doing. He knew your name, what you like to do and would joke around with you. He knew I was a swim coach and would say “Hey Mike, I heard your team is horrible,” and I would say “What do you mean? We just won, haha.” He was one of those funny guys. I ran into him last summer on the Atlantic City boardwalk and I talked to him, it was really nice to see him again.

Michael sitting on a rock.

Anything else about Rowan?

Rowan is a great place to come to. Everybody is nice and it really is like a family. You make connections with your classmates and with you help them when they come to you. It is a beautiful web here at Rowan. Everything intertwines and everybody helps each other emotionally, financially and academically. You put your heart into this school you get a heart back. If you want go to class and leave that is what you are going to get here. If you go and want to make friends or links and things that is what you will get.

I have a lot of things to deal with in my life as a human and as a student. I have two full-time jobs and I come here full time. What I want to say is Rowan helps me out. The professors help me with what they can and that is the most important part. If you are not your own advocate no one is going to be it for you and that is one of the biggest lessons I have learned. There was a time I told a professor “Hi! I will be in class tomorrow but I am working 16 hours before so if I fall asleep I have coffee but I am sorry if I do.” If you tell your professors how life is they treat you like a person. It is not a professor-student relationship where you are miles apart.

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Story and photography by:  Stephanie Batista, sophomore Music Industry major

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