What Students Really Say About Farmington
Can you explain your major?
Well, originally, I enrolled as a Philosophy major. I was debating between Philosophy and Music. So, I decided to stay and get a double in Music and Philosophy and also in minor in French. That way I could go to grad school for music.
Did you come to Farmington knowing what you’re going to do for a major?
For Philosophy, yes. That was a pretty rare thing when I was a freshman. A lot of people didn’t, but I knew right away, Philosophy, and it wasn’t until two years ago that I knew I wanted to add Music.
Do you have a favorite class at Farmington?
Well, all my classes with Steven Pane [Professor of Music] are fun. He’s definitely a professor who knows how to motivate students to learn.
What are some interesting classes that you’ve taken?
I took self-defense for my Phys-Ed requirement which was cool. We got to wear sparring equipment and fight with each other [laughs].
How did you choose Philosophy and Music?
Well, Philosophy has always interested me because it’s something that applies to all aspects of life. The nature of philosophy is that if I write a paper and I argue my point really well, I can never be wrong. There aren’t many fields out there where you can never be wrong [laughs].
And why did you add a major in Music?
I’ve just always loved music. I’ve played guitar for maybe 12 years in bands and whatnot. I realized that perhaps the way to get better at my music was to study classical music, which is true. And now I’ve become a huge connoisseur of classical music.
What are some of the strengths of a dual major in Philosophy and Music?
The biggest strength is the flexibility. For instance, last semester, I basically got to decide what courses would be offered because I was a senior. My Philosophy professor, the chair of the Philosophy department, asked me what I wanted to take and I said I wanted to take philosophy and music. And so he designed and offered the class I wanted to take, and it filled up because it was such an interesting course. And also the size of the classes. For instance, I’m taking Music Theory 3, which only has three students in it, and Orchestration, which only has four.
What’s one of your best Farmington moments?
One of the coolest things I did all semester was in Orchestration; we got to have our final pieces performed by the community orchestra. Now, if I was at a big, huge university that had 50 people in my orchestration class, there never would have been time to have all 30 compositions performed.
What would you say sets Farmington apart from other schools?
The fact that I can walk around campus and even the University President knows me by name, and I can say “Hello” to her. And all my professors know me by name. I’m not just an entry in one of their grade books. It’s a real community and we are in fact quite cutting-edge.
Have any of your classes changed the way you view life?
My Logic class definitely changed the way I looked at life. It was very, very difficult — and I loved it because it was so difficult.
Do you feel that Farmington is preparing you well for the future?
Oh, yes, definitely. We’re realizing that because we’re a liberal arts school we can compete with conservatories where people go for four years and only study music. That in fact, Farmington graduates are in as much demand as we are because we have a broader base of knowledge. Not only do we know music, but we know how to read and write about it.
What are some out-of-the-classroom projects you’ve done?
When I took History of Western Music, one of the course requirements was that we went to New York City for a weekend. Where else can you do things like that? I got the Wilson Scholar award for a piece that I’m writing for this fall, called “The World’s Best Surprise Bag ” which is for piano, viola, cello, and two voices. And that’s exciting that I got a little bit of funding to help pay the performers of that debut. This is the first extended piece I’ve written, as far as writing it in a traditional music sense. And then last year the big project I did outside of class was performing the Beatles’ “Abbey Road." I performed on bass and we worked on that for about a year straight. It first started as an idea and the band I was in, and we talked to Lily Funahashi [Lecturer in Music] the piano instructor, and she said that she could help us out and we could actually try to play it note-for-note. And so, that’s what we ended up doing.
Are there any professors that stand out?
Steve Pane, he does a good job of having courses that are accessible to people of all grade levels. His classes can have freshmen and seniors, and we’ll all be equally challenged. I enjoy that.
Do you feel the workload is at Farmington is too easy, too hard?
I think it’s what you make of it. A great thing that Farmington offer is called Summer Experience. It’s for incoming freshmen who are just graduating high school. You come for a week and get a feeling of what college life is like. I did that as a incoming freshman, and I feel like it was good preparation. A lot of students do that now, and I would encourage more to do that because it means that the students show up knowing what the course load is.
What does a liberal arts education mean to you?
I think it’s providing broad base of knowledge. Instead of just churning out people who are specialists and who don’t know how to think but just regurgitate what they’ve learned. Liberal arts is just a nice broad base of knowledge that all humans should have the right to have.
Have you done a service learning project or volunteer work?
I work there every summer as a counselor for the Summer Experience. That’s a lot of fun, to go back. It helped me out so much as a student, and now I can go back as a counselor.
Do you live in the residence halls? What do you think of the experience?
I lived on-campus my freshman and sophomore years. I was really happy with it. I wouldn’t change it. I met friends I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Do you participate in campus events?
I’m vice-president for the Ministry of Experimental Arts. We put on the annual Michael D. Wilson Symposium Arts Night. Events like that are good for the community and we have a great arts community here.
What else do you do in Farmington for fun?
Music is a big part of it, like practicing in various bands, and playing out gigs. I also play a lot around state. I liked to do outdoor things, too. The hiking is great — there's excellent hiking around Farmington. There’s great swimming, places to go kayaking, to go boating. And in the winter, I like to go snowboarding.
What do you think of the community here at Farmington?
Here, you walk down the street, and people will know your name. It’s a good thing, because it happens the other way around, too, that I know people’s name. And everybody seems to smile at each other, here, walking down the street or around campus. That’s something I don't see at every college or university I've visited.
How would you describe Farmington’s campus vibe compared to other schools?
I think it’s a very open community, which is important, very open-minded. It’s a very up-beat campus. That’s unique. People end up at Farmington because they want to be here, it’s not like some other schools I’ve visited.
What’s your favorite memory about Farmington?
Just showing up on campus, and realizing that I was in college. That first week or two was amazing. It was pretty powerful, to think that here I was and this is a brand new chapter in my life.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m going to France in the spring, for my final semester here at Farmington. And once I finish that, I’ll have my minor in French and I think it would be great to go to grad school where I could use that language. My first choice is McGill University in Montreal, Canada. I also think it’s a fantastic school; they just built a brand new music building. I’m also looking at Boston University and Tufts. I think I want to be in a city for a while and see what that's like.
Has Farmington been what you expected?
Definitely, and more. Every day I realize the faculty and the staff here are so accommodating. Their number one priority is the students. Students are what they care about, and it’s unique. They’re not here to pay the bills while they publish some work or do research using our equipment and our funds. They’re really here for the students.
Has Farmington been a positive experience so far?
Oh, absolutely. I wouldn’t go anywhere else. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Would you, recommend it to a brother, a sister or a friend?
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.
What advice would you give a freshman or someone who’s looking at the school right now?
Look at Farmington and decide if it’s a fit for you. The right kind of person, I think they’ll just sort of just know, sort of feel it. And I think a good piece of advice is to just come and explore. That’s what I did a couple times. Come up, plan on spending the day, not necessarily with a tour guide. Come up and just walk around with their folks and go eat in the dining hall. Maybe walk down the classroom hallways and listen in and hear what’s going on. I think that would give a great perspective of what goes on here at Farmington.
- 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