Castleton Alumnus: Pete Marcano

Last May, he hauled out his Haskell dorm room to its original white-wall state, loaded down his Jeep, and joined the rest of the Class of 2013 beneath the pavilion. With a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems, the fresh Castleton alumnus and New Jersey native turned left onto South Street and put The Green Mountains in his rearview mirror.  Come fall, Peter Marcano acquainted himself with another green and touched down in the Emerald Isle at the University College Cork in pursuit of his Master’s Degree.

Q: Why did you choose the University College Cork?
A: I really romanticized the idea of going abroad to study and that was hard to achieve being a CIS major at Castleton, as many core classes weren’t offered frequently. I was able to do a couple weeks in Thailand and Cambodia during the summer between my junior and senior, but I wanted more exciting experiences. UCC is also a great school and has a great reputation for their Information Systems programs.  On top of the quality, the tuition was significantly less expensive than any of the other schools I was looking at, including accommodations.

Q: Are there any experiences from Castleton, whether it be inside or outside of the classroom, that prepared you for this next chapter?
A: Woah, where to begin. There were so many different experiences from Castleton that prepared me for events here at UCC. Thinking about this question reminds me of a quote from a late hero of mine. For those who don’t know me, I am slightly obsessed with Steve Jobs. At his Stanford commencement address in 2005, he said:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”

If you haven’t seen this Commencement Address, I highly suggest you search for it on YouTube.
So many of my experiences, whether I was aware at the time or not, have helped me get through these past three months. I think my Bachelors Degree was a great foundation for the material in my Master’s program. The years I spent as a student worker in I.T. has a large influence on my current education, something I think I will always appreciate having the opportunity to have done. As a CA I had many great opportunities that significantly changed the person I am today. It allowed me to be more comfortable when uncomforting situations came about, and more importantly allowed me to develop my leadership skills.

Q: Can you describe your best day in Ireland?
A: Very recently! Thanksgiving day. Thanksgiving is without a doubt my favorite holiday. No presents, no stress, just surrounding yourself with family or friends to cook and eat. School still proceeded and I wasn’t able to venture home to spend time with the family. Some of my classmates got together and planned a Thanksgiving dinner at a local bar that was serving Thanksgiving dinner and had the football games on. It was, without a doubt, the most thoughtful thing anyone has done for me since I have been here.

Q: Can you describe your worst?
A: Ha! My first week in, a drunk medical student broke into our house looking for one of my housemates. My housemate, who was passed out, couldn’t hear the banging on his door. I got up, got out of my room, and proceeded to ask him to leave, like any former CA would do. The drunk student decided he didn’t like me very much, asked me what I was going to do about it, and before I knew it, I got punched in the face a couple times.

Q: What do you miss most about the US?
A: Chipotle. Oh, yeah…and friends and family of course…

Q:  What are you looking forward to most as your semester comes to an end?
A: Without a doubt, coming home. Being spoiled and getting used to the Vermont State College break-every-5-weeks-system, I am overdue. It will be nice to catch up with the parents, family, friends, put my feet up for a little bit before I start again in early January.  

Q: What are your future career goals?
A: I have many, But I think right now at the top of my list would be having my own start-up and bring something innovative to this world.. As my buddy Steve Jobs once said in his very early years “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”

I believe that with enough determination I’ll make a dent, but I just hope it is something that makes our quality of life better, even if the impact is slight.

Q: Where do you see yourself a year from now?
A: If all goes according to plan, which the odds are most definitely against me, so we’ll see, I will be continuing the work on my Innovative Software Project. We have to construct a piece of software and build a startup business plan around the software for school. We will have the opportunity to pitch the idea to venture capitalists and hope that with some funding we can make this idea a reality. I can’t talk about it too much now, being in the early stages, but I believe if the idea were globally adopted it would change the way we interact with technology.

Q: Do you have any advice for other students looking to go abroad?
A: Don’t give into your fears. They are there for a reason, and it will not be easy, but if you constantly do things that you are comfortable doing you lose your ability to grow, learn new things, change, and be exposed to this dynamic earth we live on. Take challenges head on and expand your comfort zone. I think you will be happy when you look back.

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