As the new school year sets in, students are moving back onto campus. Rushing to get ahold of final decorations, struggling to get our dorm set up to their liking, and getting prepared for the abundance of classes.
Excitement thrums through the air as we socialize with our neighbors; strangers that will soon become friends. Living on our own is a completely new experience, one that everyone gets to undergo together. No parents to tell us to do our homework. It is on us to balance school, work studies, jobs, and other commitments.
Being away from home can be a blessing, and also a curse. Some students flourish within the independence, while others can be homesick. No matter how you feel, students all have to adjust to being a residential student. Freshmen, sophomores, and even upperclassmen have to acclimate every school year to being in the dorms. Students get comfortable in their old routines over the summer, and don’t give a second thought to how in a few short months they will be living in close vicinity with a new person.
Allison Grozik, a freshman from Newport, Maine majoring in communications, gave an inside on how she is acclimating to life as a residential student. She described the dorms as “good and homey”, noting that she loves the social scene here and has met a lot of new and cool people. “My roommate is like my sister now,” says Grozik, who went in with no idea who her roommate was going to be. So far, Grozik loves being a residential student. Other than the social aspect of things, she states that she is settling in rather easily into the school year. She thoroughly enjoys her in person classes. “The only major change that I’m dealing with is that I have to create my own schedule and manage my own time,” she expresses. Grozik is very excited for the rest of the school year and can’t wait to see what it holds.
Kiersten Bird, a freshman from Salem, New Hampshire majoring in recreational therapy, is having a different experience than Grozik. Bird states that she likes the dorms, except for the coed bathrooms and being worried about covid cases as they are on the rise. “I feel like we don’t have much of a chance to socialize after orientation. There are some events but not a lot.” Bird divulges that she and her roommate get along easily, but the biggest challenge that she has faced while being a residential student is living with someone else. Bird also notes that living on campus has been a rough transition and she feels like the freshmen were just thrown into everything and expected to be on top of things. She likes her in person classes, but believes that students should have been made better prepared for them by her high school. Bird is ready for the school year, now understanding the expectations for her classes better than before.
Jen Butler is a junior from Vassalboro, Maine with a major in criminology pre-law track and a minor in honors and social justice. Butler lives in a four bedroom suite and she really likes it. “Decorating my room has been one of the most fun parts of being here,” Butler voices. Last year Butler lived at home, but states that it is like she never left the campus. Compared to where she is from, Butler loves it down here because she is able to go out and do things. “I thankfully live with my best friends and it’s been so fun,” states Butler. She adds that they make jokes about how it feels like they were never apart from each other for a year and a half and that they basically have separation anxiety from one another. They generally find something to do when they are out, but Butler thinks that the social scene is “nothing spectacular,”.
Butler shares that a major change that she is dealing with is being an introvert and having to continuously deal with people, especially since she saw only her family for a long time due to COVID. She shares that she only has two in person classes, which she finds great pleasure in, and the rest are online. Butler says that the school year has been “okay so far,” and shares that she was a little behind in one of her classes and she tends to burnout fairly quickly, but that she is managing school and homework very well.
The school year has just begun and students are starting to get in the groove of their own routine. Even though the pandemic may cause things to be unlike any other school year, students are trying to make the best out of it that they can. Although students remain cautious while living in the dorms, they still get to be a part of the community of the USM campus. The school year of being a residential student is filled with exhilarating adventures and a lot of good memories.