What Students Really Say About Farmington
Why did you transfer to Farmington?
Originally, I was at a school outside of Bangor, Maine. I did an internship and found out that my major there, sports broadcasting, was mind-numbingly boring, so I switched out to something more entertaining — Secondary Education.
How did you find out about Farmington?
My former roommate transferred to Farmington from the same school and he talked up the school a lot. So I checked it out and just loved the place. So, here I am.
Did you come to Farmington knowing what you wanted to do?
Yes, when I first came here I entered as a History major, but then I switched into the Secondary Ed program.
Have you done your practicum or student teaching yet?
No, I do practicum next semester and after that I'll be student teaching. I’ll probably have a semester or two between the two, but I’ve already taken the first Praxis. So, I’m well on my way. [Editor’s note: Teaching Practicum is a requirement in every UMF Education major where students gain hands-on experience in a real classroom situation — working with children, teachers and others. Students spend a certain number of hours per week in an assigned classroom and participate in a weekly seminar.]
What grade level did you want to teach?
Well, I’m in Secondary/Middle Education so that covers everything from middle school through high school.
Do any classes in your major stand out?
My first class here was a history class and I learned more in one semester than I learned from any other teacher for any subject. It was a really, really hard class but I learned so much. My Historical Methods class is a blast, too.
Do you have any out-of-the-classroom projects?
Right now, I’m in U.S. History 101 and we get to do a bunch of field trips, which is fun. We just went to the Maine State Museum on Monday, and before that we visited a graveyard [laughs]. Seriously, we went to the graveyard to record the average life span by looking at gravestones during different time periods. You could see the impact of different wars — like the War of 1812. There were a lot of deaths that year. During the Civil War years, there was this army of the dead. It was really creepy, because a lot of people lived to be about 20 or 90 — there wasn’t a whole lot in between. But there were just so many people that died before they were 20.
Have any classes outside of your major stood out?
I took a photography class, and I learned a lot. I also took 2D Design on the Computer, which was all computer graphics. Now, I’m horrible at art, but I know what looks good. And it was interesting for me to go head-to-head with an actual Art major. I was just trying to have fun with it. One of my design projects was a keg listening to an iPod with the wire going up the stand, and I thought it was just funny! The professor talked on and on about the social aspects of my project — how the keg is a very social image and the iPod is an individual — and how I employed great irony. Truth of the matter is, I was just having fun creating a class project [laughs].
Have any professors stood out?
I like the professors who don’t just get up there and talk. I like the ones who really get you interested in what they know. And sometimes they have these cool stories about things they did they were our age. Walter Sargent [Asst. Professor of History] is great — he’s kind of quirky and funny. And Dawn Nye [Asst. Professor of History] for my art classes — she’s just amazing. And Theresa Overall [Asst. Professor of Education] for my education classes does an amazing job. I’ve only had her for half the semester, but she’s amazing. She’s from Texas and she’s really proud of it and she tells us about Texas a lot.
Do you live in the residence halls?
I don’t anymore. I like the freedom of having my own apartment — having my own bathroom, my own kitchen, my own bedroom. But I still have roommates. I'd still recommend living on campus at first, though. You’re going to get to know everyone on your floor. It’s just a great way to meet people. I strongly suggest it to everyone. Do it at least for a year and give it a chance.
What were your first impressions of Farmington?
Just how friendly everyone is. When I first came I was on a tour, an unofficial tour, with my friend, people would just come out of nowhere and just talk to us. They’d answer any question I wanted. We went into the cafeteria, and I found out you can just sit with anyone. You didn’t have to wait for your friends to show up, you just start off conversation and you make friends just like that.
Do you participate in any campus activities?
I’m a tutor for the Dirigo Gear Up program. I go to local high schools and help out tutor and mentor the kids there. For high school students, it’s more about college preparation — getting them on track and focused for what’s to come up in the next stage of their life. On-campus, I organized a lot of intramural sports, like our flag football league. That’s another thing I strongly suggest to everyone — especially new students — get involved in intramurals. It’s a great way to meet people.
What’s your experience with intramural sports at Farmington?
Intramurals are similar to the varsity sports you played in high school, just not as intense. You sign up for flag football, volleyball, indoor soccer — that’s just the first semester. The second semester we do basketball, arena football, and for the first time ever, we’re going to do inflatable-raft water polo in the Fitness Center pool, which should be very interesting.
Are you in any other clubs or organizations?
I was part of the student radio station, WUMF, for a while. I used to do radio years before, before I even came here -- worked at Colby College's radio station during the summers. The great thing at Farmington is they have the technology to stream it right through your laptop or your iPod and then you can go on the air. You don’t necessarily have to have the CDs. You can just bring your laptop, plug it in, and play whatever you want by FCC standards. It was a lot of fun, but I just got too busy. I may get back into it though.
Is it difficult managing classes and extracurricular activities?
The longer you stay in college, the busier you get. I live in an apartment and pay my own way, so it seems I’m always working, taking classes, and I’ve got these other activities. I tend to limit myself on how many school activities I do.
What else do you do for fun in Farmington?
Farmington has a very nice golf course not too many people know about — the Sandy River Golf Course. We’re actually the champions of the tournament they had back in September. My friends and I do play home run derby out on the baseball field, too, and we also watch a lot of movies. The movie theater here in town, the Narrow Gauge Cinema, is a really affordable place to go — especially for college students. Every Monday is College Night and the tickets are like half off.
What do you do in the winter for fun?
We have snowball fights all winter long [laughs]. It doesn’t matter what time of the night, I’ll get a phone call saying “Hey, meet us here; we’re going to have a snowball fight.” There was one snowstorm, right before Valentine’s Day last year, that didn’t hit until midnight. I got a call at 3am from one of my friends, he said, “Hey! We’re about to have a snowball—” and that was it. He’d gotten hit in the face with a snowball and dropped his cell phone. I ran all the way over to campus so we could all huck snowballs at each other. We just went at it for hours. When we got done, we all went back to my place, and we made hot cocoa. It was a weekend — there was no school — we were up all night, just messing around like little kids. [laughs]
Have you made any good friends at Farmington?
I’ve only been here for two years, but I’ve already made so many friends. It’s just great — my friends are all so different. It’s not like high school. Here you’ve got your jock friends, your smart friends, your artsy friends, and depending on your mood you can hang out with each one or all of them together. There are no real cliques like in high school -- here, the jocks hang out with the art kids all the time. We’ve already made mini-traditions, like, each Halloween we have a pumpkin-carving party. We all get our pumpkins together at one place, spread newspapers everywhere, and we just carve away, have a little contest. Sounds dorky, but everyone does it.
What’s your favorite memory about Farmington?
My favorite memory so far was our mud wrestling party. My friend Robbie is a photographer, and he needed some photos of people having fun. So, it’s like 38 degrees out and he decided that we’re going to have a mud wrestling party and he's going to photograph it. We start clearing out all these leaves, and bringing out buckets and buckets of water from a little stream up by the park. We filled the pit until it was all mud, and we just went at it for about three hours straight. We had a little round robin wrestling match and then we decided to play some football, and after that we had a mud sliding contest. It was a blast — there wasn’t a clean inch of us afterwards — we were so soaked. [laughs]
What is something that Farmington has done really well?
The students here know what they want and what they need, and Farmington does a very good job of listening to them. At the school I transferred from, the board of directors was a bunch of really old guys who weren't interested in changing anything. No matter if we needed faster Internet service, better lunches — stuff like that, it seemed they just didn’t care.
But then I came to Farmington and it's totally the opposite — they're always looking to change things for the better. And Farmington does an amazing job of listening to the students. They do a great job with that, and a lot of programs are even run by the students. Like, the college radio station is completely run by the students and they do an amazing job with it.
Were there any major surprises when you came to Farmington?
I was very surprised at how many hippies are here [laughs]. Just kidding. The biggest surprise was how friendly everyone was. At my last college no one seemed to care — student apathy was huge. Here at Farmington, people go out of their way to help you. They’ll save a seat for you in the dining hall, they’ll move or get more seats, even if they don't know you. Extremely friendly, very helpful. It’s stuff like that — the little things you don’t really think of — that make the whole college experience here better.
What would you tell an incoming student or someone who’s looking at this school?
Be open-minded. You’re going to meet a lot of strange people, but they’re probably going to be the most interesting people you’ve ever met. Ask questions. Ask for help, and then be willing to give the help back if someone asks you.
What advice would you give an incoming student?
You’re going into a brand new world. Take it easy make sure you have enough time to get all your homework done, and then after that, pick up a job, pick up activities or join a group. Get to know people. Don’t be shy or scared. Ask questions. College is about learning, but it’s also about having fun. Have as much fun as you can.
- Kristen Bisson
From Waterville, Maine
- Emily Baer
Double major: Art and English
From Brunswick, Maine
- Andrew Thompson
Double major: Music and Art
From Plymouth, Massachusetts
- Shawn Rogers
From Dover, New Hampshire
- Lesley Kittredge
From Mount Vernon, Maine
- Kristen Simoneau
Community Health Education - School Health Education
From Jay, Maine
- Shane Koski
From Auburn, Maine
- Renee Meserve
Early Childhood Education
From Westbrook, Maine
- Casey Myers
Early Childhood Special Education
From Winooski, Vermont
- Craig Nadeau
From Fairfield, Maine
- Michaela Hitchcock
Environmental Planning & Policy
From Springfield, Vermont
- Erica Austin
Double major: History and Geography
From Turner, Maine
- Alison Gerrish
International & Global Studies
From Portland, Maine
- Lisa Kittredge
Liberal Arts Undecided
From Mount Vernon, Maine
- Nate Burns
Double major: Music and Philosophy / Religion
From Wayne, Maine
- Genesis Burke
From Amesbury, Massachusetts
- Mary Beth Kirby
From Farmington, Maine
- Joel Hatfield
Secondary / Middle Education
From Palermo, Maine
- Courtney Church
Sociology / Anthropology
From Portsmouth, New Hampshire
- Emily Langton
From Manchester, New Hampshire