Welcome to the University of Southern Maine, 2020. Just as these times are different due to COVID-19, your experience here at USM this year will be slightly different. However, many people have worked diligently to be sure that you receive the quality education you deserve.  So welcome.  We are all in this together!

The start of a new academic year is full of changes and challenges which can, at times, seem daunting. However, if prepared, everyone can manage and thrive. TRIO Student Support Services would like to share some tried and true tips for a successful semester here at the university.

  • Print the syllabus for each of your classes– This syllabus is a map for each course. It is a contract between you and your professor and it contains: rules of the class; guidelines; assignments, assessments, due dates and office hours. This important document should be placed in the front of a three-ring course binder. Use this document as a continuous resource throughout the semester.
  • Use a Planner– whether you use your computer or you have a hard copy planner, use it. Write down due dates of assignments and assessments. Be aware of dates for finals. Review your planner daily.
  • Go to Class/Zoom Meeting- Your presence is an essential piece of your education. You cannot replicate the lectures and discussions that happen within the ‘classroom’ setting.
  • Introduce yourself to your professor– This is the perfect chance for you to have a face to face meeting (via Zoom, most likely) and connect with the professor. This will open the lines of communication, making it easier to ask a question about the course throughout the semester.
  • Ask for help. Everyone needs help sometimes, so don’t be afraid to ask. There are so many resources at USM to help students succeed. Getting advice from a Resident Advisor (R.A.), Professor, Academic Advisor or your TRIO Advisor can save you time and help to reduce stress.
  • Get Involved– Involvement will, most likely, look different this year, yet research shows that engaged students are the most successful. You can not say YES to every club or activity, but you can be involved. It helps to develop friendships and community.

TRIO Student Support Services (207-780-4627) is a program that offers academic support to first generation college students; income eligible college students and/or students with a documented disability. If you meet one or more of these criteria, we can help!  Our goal is to empower students to reach their goal: graduation! We partner with you to: develop a College Completion Plan; establish clear and attainable goals; access and utilize available resources; and enhance your USM experience by creating a community of learners through activities, events and workshops. We are currently accepting applications to the TRIO Program (https://usm.maine.edu/trioprograms/trio-sss-application). Once you have applied, we will reach out to schedule a time to meet.

This upcoming year will be filled with adventure, learning and growth. The University of Southern Maine and TRIO Student Support Services want you to succeed.  Remember, you are not alone. We are all in this together-for each other!

Linda J. Freeman


University of Southern Maine


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