Long-form Features, Features

Should I Stay Or Should I Go: Some BC Grads Stay in Boston, Others Depart for Something New

Out of the Boston area’s 4.36 million residents, hundreds of thousands are enrolled as college students. Still, 25 percent of Boston’s young people plan to leave the city in the next five years. 

For Miles Kelly, BC ’22, the decision to leave Boston boils down to the city’s undergraduate population. Kelly currently lives in Washington D.C., where he moved after graduation.  

“I think [Boston is] an amazing, amazing college town, I’d say the best in the U.S.,” Kelly said. “But my perception was that it was going to be a little too young post-grad.”

The cost of living in Boston also deters young people from staying, Olivia Gooch, BC ’21, said—although the same is true for many cities. 

“Living in the city is expensive, so the cost is kind of a downside, but I feel like you have that in a lot of different cities,” Gooch said.

Though there is a trend of young people leaving Boston, Rachel Greenberg, director of Boston College’s Career Center, said 78 percent of BC’s Class of 2022 remained in the Northeast after graduation. 

“The most popular location for students to look for jobs immediately after graduation is, by far, the Northeast,” Greenberg wrote in a statement to The Heights. “Within that, Massachusetts (the Boston area) and New York are most popular.”

(Spencer Steppe / Heights Editor)

Not Done With Boston Yet

Despite perceiving Boston as mainly a college town, Kelly said Southie has a particularly strong post-grad culture.

“There’s a pretty big split between being in college and your first couple years of working,” Kelly said. “I’d heard that a lot of people end up down in Southie, and it’s sort of a smaller area and population of post-grads.”

Gooch has lived in Boston since graduation but said her initial post-grad job search wasn’t guided entirely by location.

“It mostly depended on where I got jobs,” Gooch said. “I was mostly interested in looking in either New York or Boston.”

While many graduates are looking for a change, Caroline Bald, BC ’23, said living in Southie allows her to maintain a connection to her BC roots. 

“I think a big pro, especially for BC students, is that there’s a strong sense of community, so a lot of my friends ended up living here post-grad too,” Bald said. “It’s easy to go back to BC for games or to catch up with people in younger grades or meet with professors that you’ve had a strong connection with.” 

Living near many of her fellow BC alumni in Southie, Gooch said she enjoys having her friends nearby. 

“We can all walk to each other’s apartments,” Gooch said. “It’s nice having that college group all sticking around and being close.” 

But aside from connections or community, some alumni choose to stay in Boston to make up for time lost and experiences missed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For us, it was a little bit different because we were on the tail-end of COVID,” Gooch said. “So all of my friends stayed in Boston after, and now they’re kind of starting to shift and go more towards different cities, but most of them definitely stuck around.”

Though Rozie Moylan, BC ’21, left Boston, she noticed most of the Class of 2021 stuck around. 

“People weren’t quite done with Boston yet,” Moylan said. “Versus some years, I think you get at least a taste of that, so some people are ready to leave.”

New Experiences in New Places (But Mostly Just NYC)

Though Moylan moved to New York City after graduation, she said the decision was largely influenced by where she was able to find work, not location.

“It wasn’t so much the location I chose as much as the job,” Moylan said. “New York ended up being my only option, but I was really open locationally.”

But aside from job opportunities, Greenberg said one of the main factors students consider in their post-grad plans is the location of their friends and family.

“There are many factors that students consider when deciding where to go after they graduate, but I’d say that at the top of that list for BC students are where their friends and family are located and where there are opportunities for the career field they want to enter,” Greenberg wrote.

Dora Capobianco, BC ’23, said she chose to live in New York City because she knew there would be a strong network of family, friends, and former BC classmates.

“My family is a part of it, and also like all my friends I went to high school with, they’re kind of in New York as well,” Capobianco said. “And a lot of people obviously from BC were moving to New York. So I knew I was going to have a really good network.” 

In June, Kelly is planning to make the jump from D.C. to New York City—a decision partially influenced by his desire to be near BC friends again, he said.

“I wouldn’t have changed my decision at all, D.C. was great,” Kelly said. “It just started to feel a little small and repetitive, and I was ready to switch it up again and reunite with some college and home friends up in New York.” 

Though there is a large community of BC graduates in New York City, Capobianco said living in New York offers more new experiences than living in Boston does. 

“I’ve heard from people I know that live in Boston, like it is very much just an extension of BC, going out with the same exact people that you went out with in college,” Capobianco said. “Personally, I really liked the fact that New York isn’t an extension of college.” 

When moving to New York City, Moylan said she made an effort to branch out from the BC community, which ended up being the best part of leaving Boston post-grad. 

“Even moving to New York, I easily could have gotten a roommate who went to Boston College, but I decided to do a random roommate finder because I wanted to be able to branch out and make other friends,” Moylan said. 

After a year in New York, Moylan moved to San Diego. She said she didn’t align with the work-centric, urban lifestyle and wanted to live somewhere with a more laid-back culture.  

“The way of life and emphasis put on your personal life versus work out here, especially when I’m in finance, is amazing,” Moylan said. “Compared to New York where I felt like I just had to be in the office to be in the office sometimes.”

In general, Moylan said she was grateful to have left Boston and made experiences in new cities.

“What I really loved was being able to meet new people and people outside of who I was friends with in college once I moved,” Moylan said. 

Current BC Students: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Ella Sirakovsky, MCAS ’24, plans on moving to New York City after graduating this May.

“I was prioritizing New York City and San Diego, just based on where my friends were gonna be next year, my family, and where I thought I had the most opportunity,” Sirakovsky said.

Because of the Boston area connections BC offers, Greenberg said it is easier for students to get local jobs after graduating.

“BC has a vast alumni network in the Boston area and many local companies and organizations know the value of a Boston College degree,” Greenberg said in her statement. “Additionally, the Career Center offers many opportunities for employers and alums to come to campus and connect with students.”

While many BC grads have opted to stay in Boston in years past, Sirakovsky said most of her friends are planning on leaving the area after graduation.

“I thought I was gonna stay in Boston up until this year, just because all my friends who graduated previously stayed in Boston, but most of my friends that are in my grade, graduating this year, were moving outside Boston,” Sirakovsky said. “I didn’t really want to be here by myself.” 

Sirakovsky added that the many job opportunities in New York encourage BC students to move there. 

“I feel like maybe the trend is just because a lot of people were able to get internships [in New York] there last year, they got return offers—there’s just so much opportunity in that city,” Sirakovsky said.

Though she is still looking for a job, Sophie Larbalestier, MCAS ’24, said she is ready to leave Boston. 

“I think that I’m wanting something with great culture, great restaurants, fun going out, places I have friends, places I’m comfortable in,” Larbalestier said. “I’m also excited to explore other regions, like I don’t really need to be in Boston for another few years.”

Larbalestier is currently looking for jobs in New York City, Los Angeles, and London. She said she got her fix of the Boston experience during her four years at BC. 

“After four years, I’m kind of ready to spread my wings– as the saying goes– and explore somewhere new,” Larbalestier said. “I have my favorite restaurants, I have my favorite bars, my favorite breakfast spots, all the things, my favorite museums, but, I’m kind of ready to explore a new area.” 

As a city with over 50 colleges and universities, Larbalestier said Boston is characterized by the undergraduate experience. For that reason, she said she’s ready to try somewhere new. 

“I’ve done Boston, and I love Boston, but it’s also kind of fun to keep Boston to my college four years,” Larbalestier said. 

April 8, 2024