What Students Really Say About Farmington
As a student from out of state, how did you find out about Farmington?
I just got something in the mail from them kind of randomly. I had never heard of Farmington and I actually hadn't even thought about going to college in Maine and I hadn't looked at a lot of schools yet. But just from what I saw in the packet they mailed me it looked really interesting so I decided to check it out. They kind of got me from the start. [laughs] I think from the start, it just seemed like a nice small, homey place where I could fit in well.
What originally attracted you to Farmington?
The area -- definitely. Farmington feels a lot like where I grew up in Vermont. Plus I wasn't really sure about what I wanted to study. I came here undeclared, with no particular major in mind, but Farmington seemed really open to students not being sure what I wanted to major in and letting us explore to see what we wanted to take. It had a lot of things I'd be interested in and all those classes ended up counting toward my General Ed requirements, so it all worked out. It made me feel really comfortable. I didn't feel pressured into needing to know exactly what I wanted to major in.
Had you been to Maine before deciding to come to Farmington?
A couple of times, but I hadn't really spent a lot of time here. I had heard really good things so...
How would you describe Farmington to somebody from back home?
I'd tell them that Farmington is a small college, so not only do I know a lot of the student body, but I also know a lot of the professors and the staff -- which I really like about the school. I can know my professors on a personal level and they know me. I've had professors come up to me when I was still deciding what I wanted to major in, and they said, "You know, you were meant to be an ecologist!" And I thought to myself, "Oh, wow, how did you know that?" I feel the professors here know things about me that even I don't realize. I like that a lot.
Tell me a bit about your Environmental Planning & Policy major.
It involves a lot of geography, but it's a lot more than just looking at maps. There's land usage; regional planning; and federal, state and local regulations, which I really like. I want to get more into wildlife management issues.
You came to UMF without a specific major in mind. What helped you choose Environmental Planning & Policy?
Well I think after getting here I decided I definitely wanted to do something with environmental studies or something that involved the environment. But I didn't want to major in Environmental Science or straight-up Biology or any kind of science major. I even considered transferring to another school - one that focused on something like natural resources studies -- but when I thought more about it, I realized that I didn't want to leave here. I liked it here and I liked the friends I'd made. So I looked more into what Farmington offered and I decided that Environmental Planning and Policy was what I wanted. It was a really good match for my interests.
Have you had a favorite class?
Yeah, last semester I took a class in Land Use and one of our class projects had us go to Sugarloaf and to Saddleback ski areas right nearby where we did a community sketch mapping survey. We actually got to go out and talk to people from the public about how they'd like to see their communities to develop - or not develop. It was just a really good way to show me what I can do when I leave Farmington because it was really hands-on and working with people. I really, really liked that. It made me realize I picked the right major.
Are there any other classes outside of your major that have really stood out?
I liked the classes I took in Philosophy. Philosophy is outside of my major but a lot of the stuff we talked about related to the environment and how we treat it and also how we treat wildlife. I liked the combination of the laws and regulations - and the actual science of it -- but also the ethics behind it all, which we got into. It was really cool. I liked seeing those connections.
You said you considered transferring to a bigger school, but chose to stay at Farmington. Why you chose to stay here - a small liberal arts college vs. big state university?
I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that Farmington is smaller. As appealing it was to go to a bigger school, I truly feel students come first here. I know my professors and I can work with them one-on-one. I can talk to them about anything and they're really willing to help you figure out what you want to do with your life. I mean, even my academic advisor - I'm going away to study in Alaska next semester - and he was totally excited about it and knew that I needed to do it and I wanted to do it. I feel here people are really open and really want to help, and make it the student's experience -- whatever they need, they want it to happen. So that's what I like about this school. It's small, and everyone knows everyone and the professors are open and they really want to get to know their students.
Do you feel Farmington is preparing you well for the next step?
Yeah, definitely. I feel I've gotten a lot of experience inside and outside the classroom, which is what I like. It's a good balance.
Tell me a bit more about outside-of-classroom projects that you've done.
Well, I work for the Sustainable Campus Coalition. It's a group for students and faculty that all come together and work to make this a more sustainable campus. Since I started working with them I've done so much -- going to international, national and regional conferences, meeting with people in workshops, even making really good professional connections with scientists from Montreal. It's been an amazing opportunity to work with people out there doing what I want to do!
What does a Liberal Arts education mean to you?
To me, it's just that openness ... that openness to take classes that I want to take - whatever they might be. I mean, right now I'm taking a class in painting. It's the first time I've taken painting in college and it doesn't count toward my major, but because Farmington is a Liberal Arts college I'm encouraged to take it anyway. I'm taking three classes in my major and then a class just for the fun of it - the exploration of it. I like that. I think when some people hear "liberal arts," they think hippie school. But it means a lot more than that. [laughs]
Have you done any Service-Learning projects?
Yeah, the sketch-mapping project where we went to Sugarloaf and Saddleback and talked with community members was a Service-Learning project. We showed townspeople a map of the area and asked them to circle any area on the map that was important to them and tell us why. Then we put it all together using GIS (Geographic Information Science) and overlapped the responses so you could see all the areas that people like for scenic value, or shopping or recreation. It was really, really cool to look at what people value in this area. Again, that was a Service-Learning project - a combination of class assignment and service to the community.
Have any professors at Farmington really stood out to you?
Yeah, George Miller (Assistant Professor of Philosophy) he is great. I learned so much from him ...about myself and about the stuff I was learning in class. And also my academic advisor, Matt McCourt (Assistant Professor of Geography) who is one of professors. I've really enjoyed working with him. He's one of those professors who expects a lot, but I really appreciate that because I'm the kind of person who really needs to be pushed - to have the bar set a little bit higher than I think I can reach. I think Matt knows that about me.
Are there any other professors you feel like you've connected with?
Definitely. Drew Barton (Professor of Biology). I took a winter-term travel class to Costa Rica, and Drew Barton was one of the professors, and I found out he's the professor in charge of the Sustainable Campus Coalition. Through that club I've gotten to know him as a professor and also as a friend. We really connected and we both care about the same things. It's really nice to have him to talk to me about things like my future and what I can do after college. I consider him a really good friend and mentor.
What do you like to do for fun here?
I like to do a variety of things. I'm on the women's varsity Cross-Country team and that keeps me kinda busy in the fall. I like to go out and hang out with friends like any other normal college kid, but I'm also really content go for a walk or hike. And going to the movies! The local movie cinema does a Dollar Movie Night every Monday and we always take advantage of Dollar Movie Night!
Tell me a little about being on the Cross-Country Team.
I've been on the Cross-Country team ever since I got here. That was actually a big plus to coming here. I always ran in high school, but I've never been a really, really good runner. Farmington is a Division III school so it isn't ultra- competitive and there's not a lot of pressure. I made some great friends my freshman year and now I live with two of my teammates, it's really nice. Even though it is a big commitment to be on a sports team, I really like it. It's a good stress reliever for me.
Do you have any advice for an incoming Farmington student?
Yeah -- don't get stressed out about picking out a major. Enjoy yourself and take the classes you want to take. There are a lot of classes offered in college that you would have never even seen in high school.
Any advice for somebody who is considering Farmington and has not made up their mind?
Farmington has a lot to offer because it is smaller. It's small but that helps because you know the professors and they know you. It's a really good opportunity to make those connections, whereas at a bigger school you won't really be recognized. Like, me - I'm kind of quiet, so I know it's been easier here to get to know my professors.
- Kristen Bisson
From Waterville, Maine
- Emily Baer
Double major: Art and English
From Brunswick, Maine
- Andrew Thompson
Double major: Music and Art
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- 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
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- 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