Lorenzo Occhialini enrolled in the English program at Nashua Community College after taking a gap year, graduated among the top of his class, and is now working toward his bachelor’s degree at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

While he officially completed his NCC program in Fall 2022, Lorenzo celebrated with peers this spring.

NCC Experience

After moving up and down the East Coast, Lorenzo eventually settled in Brookline in the years before college.

“During my gap year I was looking at all these different colleges – and looking at price tags. I didn’t want to take out that much in loans for a bachelor’s degree, I settled on a 4-year school and went to an early orientation. I immediately felt a disconnect. That summer I quickly wrote up something for NCC and I got in. It really helped, I got my degree for low cost, and I liked my classes.”

Lorenzo described taking literature classes, including Ancient British Literature and Modern British Literature, “The ‘Brit Lit’ was really fun, we talked about all these poems, the poets and author, we talked a lot about Mary Shelley and ‘Frankenstein’ which was particular favorite of mine.”

He also took literature by American women. “In Literature by American women, it was really nice to see books and art created by women, usually a lot of books and media I watch and read – not intentionally – are written by men, so it was a nice way to broaden my horizons to bring more academic and social awareness to it.”

Finally, the English capstone course was a more self-directed experience, “it was me going out and finding all these sources, and exploring a thesis.”


He especially liked the writing short stories class taught by Melanie Brooks, a faculty member and advisor for the Windows Writing Club. “Writing short stories was really fun, I got a lot of inspiration and have a really good time, it was a really supportive environment.”


Lorenzo ended up joining the Windows Writing Club, which produces a literary magazine of student writing and artwork in the spring and fall. He worked on the magazine with Professor Brooks and fellow student, Alex White. “We really hunkered down and looked at submissions to see what worked, and then putting it all in a magazine, gave me a spark – and I thought editing and publishing is something I really want to do. I ended up joining the student magazine at Drew. I would say that while I didn’t wear many hats, the one that I wore was really influential in opening up and giving me a familiarity with a career I wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Journey to bachelor's degree

Lorenzo transferred to Drew after weighing his acceptance offers from other universities. “I got into others, but some wouldn’t take all my English courses. With Drew I got the Presidential Scholarship award because of my success at NCC, and also, I have family in the area, so I’ve been rooming with them, cutting out room and board. I just have to pay tuition. It’s a really lucky thing I can complete my bachelor’s degree without going into massive debt.”

“I would have been on track to graduate fall 2024, but because of all the courses I took at NCC, I am on track to graduate next spring.”

After Drew, Lorenzo had considered a career in education, but is now pursuing other pathways. “I want to branch out with my English degree, and look at opportunities in publishing and writing. Just having a degree eliminates so many hurdles.”

Advice to Future Students

“As someone who took a gap year and thought he was going in one way and went to a community college, I’d say take your time, and don’t be afraid to do what your gut tells you to do,” he said. Lorenzo added that he’s glad he didn’t go to the first 4-year he looked into, since he was able to receive the scholarship from Drew, and take the courses at NCC needed to complete his bachelor’s in spring 2024.


Lorenzo will come back to NCC to complete a summer course, fulfilling credits for Drew.  “This school goes above and beyond – if you want to learn, they will give you the tools and resources to do so. It is a perfect encapsulation of what a school should be.”

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