Mike Robbins wears many hats. In the literal sense, he can often be spotted in Fell Hall sporting some type of baseball cap. However, I am referring to the different roles he takes on every day: a former serviceman of the United States Army, a full-time college student, a third-shift worker, a husband and a new father. While the balancing act can be a challenge at times, it seems that Mike is rarely left with a dull moment, and his stories are proof of that.
From 1993-2005, Mike served in the Army, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant at the end. He worked in intelligence, and then became a communications specialist for the Special Forces. Mike and his team served all over the world, in places like Central and South America and the Middle East. Tasked with missions of high importance, danger and risk were a daily occurrence. During his 12 years of service, he lost many team members and friends, one in particular who will always hold a special place in his heart.
Upon returning home from service, Mike hoped to start a new chapter of his life. However, eight months later, Mike began experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It began affecting his mental, emotional, and physical health in detrimental ways. Coming to the realization that self-medicating was not the answer, Mike sought out professional help for his PTSD through Veterans Affairs. This decision may have very well saved his life.
Once again, hoping to start another chapter, he enrolled at ISU in January 2012 to be a full-time student. Here, he took on a different type of service role as an ISU Building Service Worker. Since February, he has been working a full-time third-shift, taking care of the Kaufman Football Building, the football locker room and the weight rooms in Redbird Arena.
Some time in between attending classes and working late nights, Mike found time to fall in love and get married. Like all couples, he admits to occasional disagreements, but he and his wife always find compromise, even when that means he replies “You’re right, babe!” The second and third loves of his life were born this past June: twins Michael Cody and Eleni Sophia. The new father says having twins is quite an experience, but he wouldn’t give them up for the world. Apparently the key to balancing it all is naps, or finding one when he can. Look out for an overworked and worn-out Mike catching a quick nap on the couches in Fell, where he admits to crashing for some much needed rest from time to time. His Army training helps with the lack of sleep. There are times when he has gone over 24, even 36 hours without sleep. Talk about Army strong.
As if everything he has accomplished is not impressive enough, he has a few last hidden stories up his sleeve. For one, he always wins the popular game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” (For those who have never heard of this phenomenon, please educate yourselves and look it up!) While in the service, his unit was tasked to be extras in the movie “Hollow Man” starring Kevin Bacon. While on set, Mr. Bacon also almost ran him over with the Porsche he drove in the movie. I think it’s safe to say they are friends. Also courtesy of the Army, Mike is multilingual, well, quadrilingual to be exact. He speaks Russian, Chinese, Spanish and English.
Mike plans to graduate ISU this December with a degree in Mass Media-Media Management, Promotions and Sales. When asked to give some advice to students on how to get the most out of their time here, he said, “Don’t stress so much. Have fun. You have plenty of life left to worry about bigger things later. Go see things when you can. Meet new people. Don’t walk through life nervous or scared. Try to meet a new person every day.”
So, there you have it. Meet a new person. Meet Mike Robbins. On top of his already extensive list of roles, he can now add a new one. Mike Robbins, ISU Strange Bird.