Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Advising Advice: How to create your community at USM

Posted on February 13, 2017 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

By Anna Schwartz, Academic Advisor, anna.schwartz@maine.edu

It is never too late to connect and build community at USM! Whether you are a brand new first-year student, a senior getting ready to go on the job hunt, or a graduate student- there are many ways to bond with other Huskies and make the best of your time at USM!  

One of the best ways to create your community at college is by getting involved outside of the classroom. Studies show that students who become involved often experience greater academic success and have higher rates of completing their degree programs.  Additionally, involvement opportunities can have some very positive personal benefits: they are an excellent way to meet new friends, provide stress relief, and they can help you have fun!

To provide some ideas about how to get involved I spoke with Samantha Elliott (AKA “SElliott”), Coordinator of Student Activities in Gorham, and Alex Carrier, Coordinator of Student Activities in Portland.

Elliott encourages students to take advantage of resources and opportunities on-campus and, if you live on campus, in your residence halls. For example, attend a program offered by Gorham Campus Activities Board (GCAB), hang out in one of the Campus Centers, or join an intramural sport or a student group.

Carrier feels that it is important for students to break down misconceptions about what it means to “get involved” at USM. Working on campus through Work Study or department-funded positions, doing research with a faculty member, or taking a Service-Learning course are great opportunities.  Any one of these opportunities can help you build relationships, community, AND help you develop “transferable skills” that employers are looking for!

Ready to Get Involved?

Campus Life keeps a comprehensive list of all of the active student groups on all three USM campuses. On their website, you can peruse the list of active organizations, find out how to start a new group, or use the Pathways Student Interest Involvement Survey to find student groups that may be a great fit for you.  To find out about USM events, athletic department games, the bus schedule, and campus resource info you may download USM Guide, a free mobile app for iOS and Android.

If you are not sure about what options may be a good fit for you, are nervous about meeting new people, or just need some advice on how to get started- Involvement Coaching can help you! This service offers you  1-on-1 conversation with a coach about your background and interests, and then work together develop a plan of action to get involved!

To review opportunities, sign-up for Involvement Coaching, find out how to download the USM Guide app, and more.  Just visit: usm.maine.edu/activities

If you are still unsure about how to maximize opportunities or resources talk with your Professional or Faculty Academic Advisor, or  Alex Carrier (alexandrea.carrier@maine.edu), or Samantha Elliott (samantha.elliott@maine.edu).  If you live on-campus, your Resident Assistant or Resident Director can also help.