What Students Really Say About Farmington
So, how did you decide you wanted a dual major in History and Geography?
Well, I started as a History major because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to law school or do business, but History is really good for both of those, so I chose History as my major. Then, I took an amazing Geography class with Brad Dearden [Assoc. Professor of Geography] last semester, Intro to Peoples and Environments, and it inspired me to add Geography as a major. So now I’m taking lots of Geography classes, but I’m still getting my History degree. I still want to get a job in business and I figure having two majors means twice the job opportunities!
What’s the History major like here? What’s the Geography major like?
For History, I take classes about the interaction between states through time. I’ve taken Global History which explains 500 years of History and it explains how old Europe came to become modern Europe — you see how everything fits together. Like the some of problems in Europe today happen because somebody didn’t fix them right 50 years ago. We take research classes and then present a big research paper on one specific topic during senior year. In Geography, we learn about the interaction between peoples — what is the best way to relay that information — and how can ideas be explained to different cultures? My two majors, History and Geography, are very much intertwined.
What can you do with History and Geography majors?
Oh, there is so much. I didn’t realize that there was so much until I started researching it. With History, there’s state work, museum work, and research work. There’s also business and law school. As for Geography, there’s mapping and research, analysis of trends, and business and state work.
Do you know what you want to do after graduation?
Well, I think I want to be an economic geographer — studying business trends and demographics and how people are going to relate to business and advertising. That’s the kind of thing I’m interested in, how to use geographic data to make good business decisions.
Did you come to Farmington knowing what you wanted to do?
All through high school I liked the social sciences, Geography and History, together. But I didn’t really understand that Geography could be a major all by itself. That Geography class, Intro to Peoples and Environments, really opened my eyes and made me realize I have this passion for Geography.
So Farmington helped you find your passion?
Oh, definitely. It’s cool, because if I had gone to any other school in Maine, I wouldn’t have been able to have Geography for a major because Farmington is the only school that offers it.
What was your favorite class?
It was a Western Culture class that I took for a general education requirement. It was interesting because it was taught by an exchange professor from Russia. She made us all kind of Russian food and she told us about Russian news. It was cool. I’ve always been very interested in Russia and last semester was amazing because there were two Russian classes offered so I could take both of them, and I did.
With a double major, do you still take just four classes a semester?
Yes. So far, I’ve been taking only four classes each semester and I can do that and graduate on time.
Have you participated in any service-learning projects?
Yeah, I took a Digital Citizenship class where we worked with senior citizens and helped them with computers. At first it felt kind of intimidating because I’m a little bit shy and we were out there in the community working with people we didn’t know. But everyone enjoyed it — the students and the senior citizens. At first we met as a group at Mantor Library and worked with seniors on the computers there, but this one lady had very specific questions about her own computer, so I drove up to her house a couple of times and helped her out. She and I really hit it off and she even invited me over to her house for dinner one night. That was sooo nice of her! I’ll never forget her.
Is there a class you’ve taken that has changed your view?
I took an Honors science class here where we talked all about the evolution of Farmington through the past 12,000 years. I never experienced science quite like that. We’d go out and do field research where we’d unearth sea shells and sea fossils. But Farmington is at the foothills of the mountains — about 425 feet above sea-level! Our research showed it was actually underwater at some point. Wow! It was just so cool, because I’m not a science person. It was neat to learn that first-hand.
Do you feel like you get a lot of work here? Are the professors too easy or too hard?
There’re easy classes and there are hard ones and they balance each other out. Mostly though, it’s more a matter of time management. You have to set aside time to do your work. I’m kind of a procrastinator, so I do it all at the end, but I know that I have to do it, so it gets done.
What does a liberal arts college mean to you?
It just means that we’re not a single specific thing, which is nice. Kind of like a diversity of interests. If Farmington wasn’t a liberal arts school and we weren’t required to take classes outside of our major, then we wouldn’t ever really know if we wanted to take our own major or not. I would have never taken a Geography class if Farmington wasn’t a liberal arts college — and that’s how I discovered my passion for Geography.
What makes someone a good professor?
I haven’t had a bad professor, I need to say that. Because they all care about their subjects and they are all so passionate about what they teach. They are all knowledgeable about what they’re teaching. That’s what matters, they care about what they teach, they care about us, and they’re able to help us.
Have you connected or bonded with any professors?
Oh yes, if I see them on the street, we’ll say hi and chat a bit. It was weird, this summer I was working as a cashier and I had to ring up one of my professors. I was like, “Oh hey! How is it going?” And we talked for awhile, it was nice because it was summer, and I had taken her class in the fall, so it had been awhile. But she totally recognized me because the classes are so small. They will remember you here and they’re just friendly, normal people.
So, how did you come to choose Farmington?
Funny story, I was accepted to some colleges in Pennsylvania but I thought, “Nah, I don’t think I want to go way out to Pennsylvania.” Then I started thinking about the Maine schools because I like Maine a lot. So I just narrowed it down. I didn’t want a big school, I didn’t want a school in the middle of nowhere, and that crossed off everything else and Farmington was left. But I like it here. I think I like it more than I would’ve liked anyplace else.
Did you visit the campus first?
Actually, I stayed overnight here once with one of my friends when I was a senior in high school and I also stayed at some other colleges — kind of checking out different schools undercover [laughs] and I was creeped out at other colleges, but I wasn’t creeped out here. [laughs] I stayed here overnight and I thought, “Yeah, I could do Farmington for four years.”
What were your first impressions of Farmington?
Like I said before, I stayed overnight here a couple of times as a senior in high school and I just liked it. Everyone here seemed normal. I went to [a small private liberal arts college in Vermont] which is similar to Farmington in some ways, except the students there were creepy [laughs]. I stayed over as a prospective student there and it was the creepiest experience of my entire life! [laughs] So I was just like, I am not going there.
What surprised you when you came to Farmington?
I didn’t realize how much stuff there is to do on campus. When I came to school, I thought it was going to be like, you sleep here, you do your homework here, but you go off campus to find stuff to do. That’s only true about 50% of the time. They do try to keep you here to do stuff, which is nice.
Do you live in the residence halls?
I live in Purington Hall and I adore it. I almost took an apartment off campus but I decided that I really like Purington — we have a really strong sense of community there. Everyone on my floor knows everyone and we all hang out together. It’s really nice. I live in the “art pod” in Purington. Each floor is broken up into these “pods” of certain interests. The first floor is the art pod. The second floor is the “outdoors and leadership pod”. And the third floor is the “education pod,” for students studying to be teachers. But you don’t have to be in a specific pod to live in Purington or any of the other residence halls.
What student organizations are you in?
Well, I’m on the Campus Residence Council's executive board. We get to plan programs and put stuff on to give people things to do on campus, like dances and concerts stuff. And I’m in the Student Admissions Club, which gives campus tours and hosts open houses for prospective students.
Do you ski or hike?
I don’t ski, but I’ve gone on a few hiking trips, though I don’t consider myself a hard-core hiker. There are a couple of trails off campus and sometimes it’s nice to go for a walk there. There are a couple of trails in West Farmington, and sometimes it’s nice to just pack a lunch and go off with your friends for a light day hike.
What do you find unique about Farmington?
It’s so clean here. I went to [a big state university in Maine] a couple of times, and it was really gross. Farmington is much more pretty and clean.
Do you have a favorite Farmington memory?
Move-In Day when I was a freshman! It was the craziest day of my life. I had no idea what I was doing. It was just me and my parents trying to get all of my stuff moved in. And it was raining, of course, just pouring. We had no idea; we had never done this before. I was the first kid to go to college in my family one of my roommates was there, so there was that whole awkward first meeting, which is so funny in retrospect. And our dads were trying to fix everything up. It was just so funny because they had never met before either, and all of a sudden they were like best buddies. And my mom was like, “Let me make your bed!” So there’s my mom, up on the top bunk, making my bed. I was shocked saying, “You don’t make my bed at home, what are you doing, Mom?!” It was just hilarious.
Do you have any sage advice for an incoming student?
Understand that people are different and that you can’t force everything on them … and also don’t be stupid. Actually wait, okay, be a little bit stupid sometimes. [laughs] I mean, you have to learn to make decisions for yourself and learn how to help yourself when you screw up. Don’t be stupid all the time — just be a little stupid. Too much stupid is annoying and will get you into trouble [laughs].
What advice would you give to somebody looking at the school?
If you already know people who go to school here, see if you can come hang out for like the afternoon. Part of the fun is that Farmington is a community, in the truest sense of the word, which you can’t entirely get on a campus tour. It’s really the people here that make Farmington different and make it worth coming to see. So take an afternoon and hang out with somebody. Walk around campus and meet people. That’s how you’ll find out if you like it or not.
- 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