Christina O’Neil is a senior Business Marketing major from Watertown, Connecticut. She is the President of the Marist chapter of Habitat for Humanity and is also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Why did you decide to come to Marist?
It’s funny because the day I came to tour Marist I was in no type of mood to be touring a school. I was tired, it was hot out, I had a headache. Then we drove through the campus on the way to admissions and the view was stunning. The campus culture is what sold me on it when I got out of that car. I stopped looking at schools after visiting Marist.
Which attachment programs have you done and why did you choose them?
Marist in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales 2016) and Marist in Ireland (2017). This is something else I stumbled into, like everything great that happens in life. One of my friends wanted to do an attachment class, and even though I never had any intention of going abroad, ever, I tagged along for the walk because it was a beautiful day. I ran into a professor at the study abroad fair that I once had and we chatted about her program for Business in the UK. I went home, called my Dad, and sent in my application that day. It was such an amazing experience that I’m going on it again this year with some pretty amazing people.
What advice would you give to yourself freshman year?
The first couple weeks are the hardest, but you’ll find your people if you just get up and go to some club meetings and group dinners. I know you would rather sleep, but just go—today could be the day! It might not be the first people you meet or even the second, but a lot of times it’s those they introduce you to that turn out to be your perfect friends. I would also say to push yourself to become whoever you aspire to be, you are the only one who can make that happen. College is about growing and experiencing new opinions and cultures.
How has college prepared you for life after graduation?
Friends joke that we need a swear jar for the dreaded “graduation” word, that word makes me cringe! Marist gave me the tools to grow and learn and I ran with it. I took on leadership roles and went through sorority recruitment and took on a job that involves calling alumni and asking them to donate money to Marist's fundraising campaigns. I traveled around the south with Habitat for Humanity and learned to navigate New York City all because of Marist. I learned how to communicate, fundraise, lead, and love life—all skills that will help me navigate the “real world” after Marist. If you told me that four years ago I would have said that could never be me, but Marist indeed did that for me. This school has taught me to go for what I want in life with a strategy to make it happen.
What has been the highlight of your college experience?
Being the President of Habitat for Humanity at Marist. Planning and executing the 2017 Collegiate Challenge has definitely been the highlight of my senior year. I’ve met my best friends through this club over the years because the trip really creates a family. It was a privilege getting to watch new friendships form on the trip for the underclassmen. I’ve gone all four years on this spring break trip and when I was a freshman, the upperclassmen really took me in and helped me come out of my shell. This year, I had the opportunity to pull a few underclassmen out of their shells, so it really came full circle. Seeing someone develop like that over the course of a week is truly something special. Having this trip flourish the way it did this year was an amazing feeling after all of the work I put in every single day. Seeing the new board come in is going to be bittersweet, but I know they’ll do amazing things for the chapter. I’m going to miss them most of all.
Written by Sophia Brana '17
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Class of 2017
Academic School: Management
Campus: New York