Take a glance back on all of your past semesters / Kelly Ledsworth, Design Director

As we creep up to the last moments of this 2020-2021 school year, we push as we finish up the last of our assignments, click “join zoom” for the final times and begin to cross off the projects, tests, and finals we have listed on our planners. 

The burnout feeling has been lingering for just a tad too long. We all yearn for the summer that is slowly peeking around, hopefully, we won’t get any more April snow flurries and we can stop having grey cloudy days. The summer playlist is waiting for us to click play, and many of us are beginning to pack up the dorm rooms and common spaces for the year.

Class of 2021 is getting ready for their online commencement ceremony, picking out the perfect outfit to wear while they send out the zoom link to fellow classmates, family, and friends. Maybe the bottle of champagne has already been purchased and the graduation dinner reservation has been set. 

While no senior has the same path or the same degree progress, and everyone has a different amount of semesters taken and course enrollment. Everyone has a list of the best classes they have taken. Just reading that line probably sparked up your own answer when it comes to the question:

What was your favorite class you’ve taken at the University of Southern Maine?” 

Danielle Nadeau, from St.Francis, Maine is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in leadership studies. “The name of the course that I really enjoyed was course CMS 423 The First Amendment with Daniel Panici and I am currently taking it now Spring 2021.”

Nadeau explains that in this class the topic surrounds the history and theories on the First Amendment in the US constitution. She goes on to say “I have really enjoyed this class because the professor honestly makes it fun and engaging. We are able to talk about our own opinions without getting judged and we have in-depth conversations with all of our classmates.” Through being in this course she says it helped her learn more about the First Amendment and recommends that is either in the media studies or communication major to take the course, and those with an interest in government or the First Amendment to consider taking it. 

While the question for post-graduation plans was optional, Nadeau gleams as she explains after graduation  “will be working with Tyler Technologies in Yarmouth as a receptionist and I am really excited for this new opportunity.”  

Hunter Mahon, from Manchester, New Hampshire, will be graduating with a bachelor’s in media studies, and a double minor in marketing and audio + video production. She ponders on her favorite class since “it’s hard to choose from with all of the fun media classes offered, has got to be Narrative Filmmaking with Nat Ives and David Pierson.”  

Mahon explains that the class was: “essentially throughout the class we were put into divided groups, where we would work on projects together. I remember one project being an Interview that we needed to shoot and edit and the other being a much broader project, choosing either a documentary or a short film.” 

She shares that this class gave her the opportunity to learn new skills and avenues within the video production and film industry. As well as building a community that shares similar goals, interests and could push each other on their own individual projects. 

“It’s great being able to learn more about yourself and develop your skills, but it’s another to make long-lasting relationships and meet those who chase similar dreams,” Mahon shares.  

Mahon is still navigating her after graduation plans, but she explains that she is, “not the type of person to lose sight of them. I’m planning on letting life take me wherever it goes, knowing that whatever is thrown my way will allow me to grow as an individual.”

She thanks USM for being able to be a great narrator for this chapter and cannot wait to see what happens next and turn the page.  

Connor Blake, from Westbrook, also getting his bachelor’s in media studies. He shared his favorite course taken in his USM career was EYE 129: The Chicken Course, Taught by Professors Cheryl Laz and Robert Sanford, he took the class fall semester freshman year. 

“The Chicken Course was a course offered under the Entry Year Experience course list. I liked this class the best because I got to learn about chickens. You can probably imagine the conversation with my parents was quite interesting when they asked me what my very first college courses were going to be and I told them I was going to learn about chickens.” he shares.

The EYE courses, or “entry year experience” are created in mind that they help high school students, or newly freshman college students ease into college-level courses, by offering more fun and less stressful courses. 

Blake shares that, “once I got into the course the professors made learning so much fun and we even got a chance to go to the Cumberland County Fair to look at chickens (as well as have fun) in real life.”

He shares now that he didn’t realize that the course was slowly teaching him to be a successful USM student. “The multitude of assignments required to set me up for success at USM and I always think back to this course as being one of the most valuable courses I have taken at USM.” Plus, if you were to quiz him he would know a little too much about chickens.  

Luckily for Blake, he will not have to work that closely with chickens after he graduates, as he will be “going to continue my education at the University of Maine as I pursue a Masters in business administration.” 

It’s quite an accomplishment to graduate in general, but to have withstood two years of a pandemic school year is the cherry on top. 2021 is the year of the Ox. According to the Chinese zodiac, Oxes are known for  “diligence, dependability, strength, and determination.” If that doesn’t sum up the senior class then what does? 

Resilience to continue to push on, take another 24-30 credits and continue to be asked “what the plan after graduation?” That’s a lot of strength. 

Congratulations to the Class of 2021 and for all and any future plans you all have once you get to click “leave meeting” one last time. Cheers to you huskies, we wish you luck on all of your future endeavors! 


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