From Long Island To Brooklyn: Succeeding Across Campuses

March 09, 2016

Thomas OConnellThomas O'Connell '16
Computer Information Systems and Marketing

Ever wanted to live in Brooklyn? For most of us HBO-watching hipsters, it's a fantasy. Brooklyn, once an affordable borough for fledgling artists and blue-collar workers, is now one of the most expensive cities to live. Perhaps one day we'll stroll the streets of Williamsburg in our $250 cardigans, after we pin down that $1 million salary and can afford the $5,000 monthly rent. 

However, if you're Thomas O'Connell '16, or any SJC Long Island student for that matter, the option of living in Brooklyn is more attainable than you think. 

Through the College's Semester in the City program, Long Island students can relocate to SJC Brooklyn, living in the St. George/Clark Residence off-campus. For Thomas, already offered a job after graduation with Ernst and Young as a technology advisory consultant, Brooklyn was the obvious next step.

"SJC has made [the transition to Brooklyn] so easy because I am able to work 30 hours a week on top of being a full-time student." — Thomas O'Conell '16

"I went to the LI campus my entire college career, but decided to go to Brooklyn my last semester since I am currently working as a consultant in the city," Thomas said. "SJC has made this so easy because I am able to work 30 hours a week on top of being a full-time student. Between graduating with no debt and giving me the opportunity to learn the necessary traits to accept a job offer for Ernst and Young, SJC has done so much for me."

The decision to depart Long Island for the city was an easy one for Thomas. Following his interest in computer science, and the recommendation of his sister (the 2012 salutatorian of SJC Long Island), Thomas was able to secure an internship in the city. 

"My sister double majored in CS and Math Ed," Thomas said. "She opened my eyes to a technology field which I never really considered before college. It is a growing industry with a lot of potential. I started focusing on the business sector and realized that I loved to help businesses grow. And the technology industry is definitely a quick way to see businesses grow."

For anyone looking to make the leap into Brooklyn, where careers and cultures abound, contact Bryan Gill (Director of Student Involvement and Leadership) at [email protected] and ask for more information about the Semester in the City.

"The Brooklyn campus still has the same school-like feel on the campus," said Thomas. "But it is certainly a different feel. The LI campus is more of a traditional campus and gives the modern feel. Whereas the Brooklyn campus makes you feel a sense of respect for how historic it is."

Q & A with SJC Long Island/Brooklyn's Thomas O'Connell '16

Favorite professor?
"There have been so many professors who have impacted me. But I have built a great relationship with Sister Jane and Professor Hong. They have done so much for me and were so supportive. SJC would not be nearly as impactful of a school without professors like them who are so passionate about helping their students. They were two of the happiest people of those who found out I accepted a job with Ernst and Young."

What have you learned about yourself while at SJC?
"I have learned how to operate in the corporate world between my internships and classroom experiences."

Aside from content material, what is the best lesson a professor taught you in class?
"With knowledge comes confidence. I can't think of anything in particular but with all the content material that is taught and understood, comes the intangible skills like confidence."

What was the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
"Moving on from baseball, a sport I loved and played my whole life, to take an internship."