Fitchburg State is somewhere I’ve really peaked, so far. I’m going to miss being involved in so much on campus, and how it let me get to know so many people and learn so much.
Joseph Cautela III ‘22 was looking for a way to make friends, and ended up finding a career path.
The Hudson native started his time at Fitchburg State as a commuter student, and after having what he described as a “political awakening” as he entered his senior year in high school, he was intrigued about the opportunities available in student government.
“The experience exceeded my expectations,” Cautela said. “I didn’t assume student government would be the be-all end-all of my experience, but I’ve remained close with those friends even after they graduated.”
In the Student Government Association, Cautela found other students who were looking to be engaged in the life of the institution and advocate for their peers. Cautela’s own engagement deepened as a sophomore, when he moved to campus as a resident assistant in Russell Towers.
“I met another set of individuals who were good influences on me,” Cautela said. “I learned a lot about developing a passion to help students. My sophomore year was definitely when I started feeling like I loved this school.”
It’s also when he started learning a lot about the importance of time management, as he juggled growing responsibilities with his academic coursework. The juggling act became even trickier in 2021, when he was elected the student representative to the university Board of Trustees.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking the first few meetings, but I’ve grown more comfortable,” said Cautela, who said he was pleased he could be a voice for students as the university navigated the operational challenges of the pandemic.
While his original plan was to become a high school history teacher, Cautela’s engagement on campus has revealed a true calling in student affairs. “I can still follow my passion of working with students, just outside the classroom,” said Cautela, who is weighing graduate school options for the fall.
“Fitchburg State is somewhere I’ve really peaked, so far,” he said. “What I’m going to miss is being involved in so much on campus, and how it let me get to know so many people and learn so much.”
This story was originally published in the Spring 2022 edition of Contact magazine.