What Students Really Say About Farmington
It’s not too far away, but not too close to my hometown. And it has a really good Special Education program. That’s what attracted me at first. I met with a Farmington representative my junior year and really liked it. When the rep came back in my senior year, I met with him again, and the guy remembered my name. Instantly, I was like, "I want to go there." That was so awesome.
How did you first find out about Farmington?
I had been talking to my high school guidance counselor and she knew I wanted to teach, so she suggested I check out Farmington. I met the Farmington reps at a college fair at my high school.
What attracted you to Farmington?
I also knew someone who graduated from Farmington last year, and she really liked it. The size is really important. Smaller classes mean the professors actually remember your name. It makes it so much more personal. They know more than your grades — they know your personality. You aren’t just a number in a book. I’ve had some really good professors here. That’s helped me a lot.
Had you been to Maine before coming to Farmington?
Not this far up. I go on vacation to Hampton Beach every year and when it's rainy we drive up to Kittery.
How would you describe Farmington?
It’s smaller than my high school. It’s weird because my classes now are smaller than in high school. There are also so many more trees here than there are in Manchester, New Hampshire! It’s the opposite of Manchester. Here people sometimes leave their doors unlocked — it's just so different! Here it’s much more laid back and relaxed, which is how I like it.
Are you working in a classroom already?
Yes. For my Curriculum for Exceptional Children class we're working with a third grade math group at the Mallet Elementary School in Farmington. I’m with one child monitoring her progress on a project and writing goals and objectives. Math is really easy to monitor. It’s really interesting because I'll eventually have to do that for all of my pupils, and I only have one right now and it’s pretty difficult. But it’s fun to do because you actually have everything you need to help them make progress in one specific area.
What sets the Special Education program at Farmington apart?
It’s really close-knit program. And most colleges don’t let you take practicum so early — other colleges don't get you into a real classroom until your junior year. At Farmington, I started my practicum in November of my freshman year! How cool is that?
Do any classes in your major stand out?
My curriculum class this year is really interesting because I'm actually working with elementary students. I know textbook work is an important base. But I’m just so excited to be working with kids already. I'm in an elementary school classroom so much sooner than if I was at [two large out-of-state colleges] or just about anywhere else.
Did you know wanted to be a Special Education teacher?
Yes, I knew I wanted to teach. I applied and got into the Early Childhood Special Education, and I enjoyed it. But I really want to be in a school classroom, so I switched to Special Education.
Do any classes outside your major stand out?
I’m taking a Rehabilitation Services class, Intro to Disability Studies, and it’s the best class I’ve taken here. It’s a blast. I have Karen Barrett [Assoc. Professor of Rehabilitation Services] as a professor and she’s absolutely hilarious. She’s an amazing teacher; she makes it so interesting. We talk about everything from acquired disabilities, those from birth, discrimination and everything like that.
Have you done any out-of-classroom projects?
For Intro to Disability Studies, I’m spending a whole week in a wheelchair. Our professor wants you to get the full experience of being in a wheelchair so everyone in the class has to be in the wheelchair for a total of 72 hours. That’s been an eye-opener! We actually get to experience having a disability. It makes you so much more in tune with what people go through. I think it is the best thing ever.
Have you done any service-learning projects or volunteer work?
Yes, I work one-on-one with children, too. We volunteer for our own experience or to volunteer for a class. I’m working a kindergarten classroom at Mallett School. I'm there on Thursdays and the kids are absolutely adorable.
Have any classes at Farmington that have changed your views?
My English class about Bob Dylan was sweet. I thought he was just an old singer that everybody was obsessed with. I was always like, “How can you listen to this? He's not even singing — he's talking!” Now, I absolutely love Bob Dylan. The class is taught by Luanne Yetter [Lecturer in English] and she teaches a class about the Beatles, too. She's fantastic.
Do you feel Farmington is preparing you well?
Yeah, definitely. Everything is going really smoothly. I’m on a really good path right now. I'm focusing on doing well.
How is the workload? Are your professors too hard or too easy?
Really, it’s not too much. It’s very different from high school because it's a lot of reading and studying rather than worksheets and book exercises. There’s a lot to pick and choose from here, but you need to do your work first. The professors are willing to help if you're having a hard time. I had a hard time last semester managing my workload because I was taking a lot of classes. But there's always help and my advisor was awesome.
Have any professors at Farmington stood out?
Melissa Clawson [Assoc. Professor of Early Childhood Education]. She teaches children’s creative arts courses and runs the playgroups and she has two boys who are so cute. She taught my first-year seminar class, Children and Nature, and it was full within the first two minutes. I was very lucky to get into that class. She's phenomenal — the way she teaches, everyone is engaged. And her class projects are just awesome.
What makes a good professor?
I'm learning about this right now, how to engage kids when I start teaching. Not everybody has the same interests. If you have a project that everyone has to do, make sure there are options. Some people are visual learners. Some people learn better doing a PowerPoint presentation. Some people do better with a poster, maybe reading, maybe drawing. You need structure, but you need to understand and evaluate everybody’s interests and incorporate them into how you teach the class. Sometimes, that's hard to do.
Have you connected with some of your professors? Developed a good relationship?
Oh, definitely. When I see them at Wal-Mart or whatever, we stop and talk like friends. Whenever I see them, they give me a hug. It’s so cool.
What were your first impressions of Farmington?
It was really small, but people were so friendly on the tours and stuff though. I just walked around and asked people questions and they would answer. The on campus Art Gallery was like my favorite spot on campus.
Do you ski or hike?
I love being outside hiking and fishing that kind of thing but I’ve never skied or snowboarded because during the winter I played basketball and I swam. But some of my friends who ski and snowboard want to come up to visit me because we're so close to Sugarloaf and Saddleback. When they found out about the skiing and stuff, they were stoked.
What’s the community at Farmington like?
The community is close knit and everyone knows everyone else. You get to see everyone all the time. It’s just awesome. I hang out with so many different groups of people and we all get along.
Has Farmington been a positive experience?
Yeah, I love it.
Do you live in the residence halls?
I live in Dakin Hall and it’s awesome. I lived in Scott Hall last year and that is where I met all of my friends. My roommate now is so nice — she's from New Hampshire, too. We met at a party and we're so similar. If something is bugging us, we both feel like you just need to spit it out.
Do you participate in any dorm activities?
I haven’t done much this year, but I did it last year a lot. It’s really good for meeting new people. Now that I have a solid group of friends, I don’t really have to do that anymore. I’ll check it out a once in a while.
Do you go to the campus events?
What else do you do for fun in Farmington?
We go for bike rides a lot. We don’t really have a set route, we just take off and ride and go fishing or something. I like to go out to the waterfalls and take pictures. I’ve been up to the UMF observatory and it's so pretty. I took my parents up there when they came to visit.
Are you in any clubs or organizations?
I’m in the Alpha Phi Omega, the community service fraternity. We're all about volunteering. We helped run the children’s trick-or-treating event, we help at the animal shelter, do Red Cross blood drives, things like that. I’m also in the Students for Sensible Drug Policy organization.
What do you like best about Farmington?
That you can just walk around for two minutes and see your entire group of friends. There is a lot of spontaneity. Nothing is really stressful here. Maybe schoolwork sometimes, but that's bound to happen. Nothing else really makes you feel stressed though.
What kind of classes have you taken to prepare you for graduation?
A lot of Special Education classes. As for my electives, I make sure they're related to my major or what I'm going to face in the schools. My health class is related to kids — it’s about setting good examples with hygiene. It isn’t like the health class that you take in high school. It’s actually closely related to my major.
What are your plans after graduation?
I’ve heard about this opportunity that will forgive some of my student loans in return for teaching at a low income school for five years. I feel like it is a good opportunity. We have quite a few low income schools in Manchester, so that would be fantastic if I could end up working there.
What does Farmington do well?
Makes the students feel comfortable in their environment. There’s always someone to talk to. They’re always willing to help and help you find the resources you need.
What could Farmington do better?
I don’t really feel like anything needs to change. I like the way it is now.
Do you have any advice for an incoming student?
Don’t let the small size scare you into feeling that you won’t have a full experience. If you really want to go to a big school, check out someplace else. But I know that I work better in smaller classrooms because it so much more personal. I just love it here.
Would you recommend Farmington to a brother or sister or friend?
- 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