As a high school senior, the pressure to decide which college you will attend the following fall increases daily. Seniors are asking themselves: What if I start going somewhere, then realize it’s not the right school for me? What if I want to change my mind?
After three rough semesters at another university, Mike Sutter transferred to St. Joseph’s College. “I was going to transfer to a SUNY (university) upstate,” said Sutter. “At the last second, I realized that I didn’t want to be in the middle of nowhere, so I decided to go to Enrollment Services Day at SJC.”
Sutter quickly found the environment at SJC suited him much better than the environment at his former school. In May, Sutter graduated from SJC Long Island with a B.S. in Computer Information Technology and a minor in music.
The classes felt much more relaxed, and the professors were so much more approachable and friendly. I developed a working relationship with many of my professors — great, helpful people.”
“At SJC, the classroom experience was much different,” he said. “I think my largest class was an introductory philosophy course with roughly 30 people in it. At (my former college), I took one class with less than 50 people in it. The classes were gigantic, with my largest class including around 300 students.”
In addition to the class size, Sutter noticed a difference in the style of teaching at SJC. “The classes felt much more relaxed, and the professors were so much more approachable and friendly,” he said. “I developed a working relationship with many of my professors — great, helpful people.
“Between the people in the IT program and the music minor, as well as my electives and my advisor Dr. Pirich (who once stayed on Gmail until 11:30 p.m. with me and Professor Bernardyn to work out a schedule that worked with the music minor), the staff at SJC truly cares about its students. It’s such a breath of fresh air.”
Going the extra mile
Although Sutter felt it was hard to make friends and join extracurricular activities as a commuter at his former university, he experienced the opposite at SJC. Sutter felt right at home with SJC’s show choir, The Shockwaves. “There’s a lot of love in the Shockwaves, and their friendship and support is what kept me there in the first place,” he said.
He also excelled within the group, letting his passion for music move him higher. “Of the five semesters I spent in the Shockwaves, three of them were as the music coordinator, and two of those music coordinator semesters were as the president of the group.
SJC truly cares about its students. It’s such a breath of fresh air.”
“They’re just a wonderful and talented group of people who made every day at SJC something to look forward to. While we always sought to put on a good show, we always wanted to have fun with each other. I’m (going to) miss them a lot,” said Sutter.
Sutter also found time to write for SJC’s student newspaper, The Talon. “That newspaper let me speak up about topics I’m passionate about, such as politics, music and the Mets,” he said.
Since graduating, Sutter has put the experience and skills he gained from SJC to great use.
“I’m teaching some computer classes in Southampton, teaching beginner piano lessons to children (and perhaps willing adults!) and I’ve been looking to line up some music-related gigs as my schedule opens up,” he said. “I’d also like to be able to continue writing like I had for The Talon.”
SJC had such an impact on Sutter that he thinks he may return as a student. “I’ve considered going to graduate school, especially with SJC’s new forensic computing program, but I think that won’t be for a few years at least,” he said.
“With all of that considered, what I really want is to enjoy life to the fullest and surround myself with as much happiness as I possibly can.”