Hi, I am Chris, a freshman at the University of Southern Maine. I moved in on Tuesday, August 25th and I plan to major in Computer Science.
Throughout the next year, I will take you through the life of a college student– what it’s like, especially with this crazy time of Covid.
I started my journey late, applying to colleges around January of my senior year – just a tad bit late. When I first applied, or should I say, when I FINALLY applied, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to go for, or where, so I guess you could say I played it safe and applied to just about every college in Maine. If it had an online application, they got one from me.
Before too long I started to get letters of acceptance back. By this point, I was running short on time and I had to sit down and determine the best options considering factors like cost – this was a big factor – but also considering the campus itself. My parents reminded me that I would be living there, at least for a while, so it was important that I liked the campus otherwise I may not be as inclined to give it my best.
After looking over all of the schools, my two favorite colleges were Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and the University of Southern Maine (USM).
Here were some factors that I considered when narrowing it down to the two schools:
- Distance from home – I have to travel home on breaks and get my stuff to and from school; too far from home means additional costs.
- Major – Computer Science is what I want but, for me, it made sense to look at schools that offered other things I like too. If I want to change my major, I could transfer schools but it would be a lot easier to stay in one place.
- Cost – I have to pay for this.
- Campus – I looked at the layout and asked, “Could I have a car on campus? Would I want a car on campus? Will there be a lot of walking and did I like the look and feel of the place?” After all, this will be my home for the next four years.
With all of those thoughts on my mind, I decided on the University of Southern Maine. SNHU was offering the first year free to incoming freshmen, but even with that, USM was the best decision for me.
Once the hard part was done, the exciting part began. I was able to make a list and go shopping. Creating the list was a lot easier than I expected. USM helped a lot by posting on their website what our rooms would already offer (e.g. desk, fridge, microwave etc.) and then what they recommend we bring. I did a little extra research and created a list and then talked with my parents to make sure I had not missed anything – then I got to shopping.
This is where the excitement waned a little, as I began to shop with my own budget (The College Fund that I had been adding to for a while) was tight after I bought my text books. If you have not started saving – it is never too late. After shopping I am still reeling from sticker shock. Do you know how much a power cord costs? Want a few snacks for your room, there goes $30.00. Also, with Covid, shopping just wasn’t the same. I did most of my shopping online, having package after package delivered to my house. Here is another question: why does shipping need to be so much? One broom with shipping was the same as buying two brooms. In the end, I used my parents’ Amazon Prime account to ship the things for free that I could, and then I did free in store pick-up with the other things.
Future students, if you are like me you will underestimate how much you have. Packing was not as easy as I thought it would be. USM also asked that we pack light, leaving excess furniture (e.g. fans, lamps, rugs, bean bags etc.) at home.
At the time of writing this, it is my second day on campus and if I am being honest, it is not the most exciting. Because of Covid, I do not have a roommate. That is great but it also means I am on my own to start. My classes start on Monday, August 31st, so I have a few days to acclimate. First year orientation has been planned out for me over the week. I like that USM has planned it that way, not too much excitement at once. I have unpacked and set-up my room, though I did forget my hangers, so it looks like I’ll be calling my mom soon. I am looking forward to having more freedom on campus and the beginning of classes.
Until next time.