BOSTON – Her mother and her bed.

That’s what Saada Ahmed looked forward to during her monthlong break from Suffolk University. And once she got home to Lewiston two weeks ago, neither disappointed.

She and her mother, Nasra, have done lots of talking and cooking.

“She thinks I’m taller. I wish,” said Saada.

While she’s gotten along well with three roommates in off-campus housing – “we live in our own worlds” – the change of scenery was welcome.

“My bed is much bigger at home, I have a TV in my room, it’s private. My room is my haven when I’m home,” said the 18-year-old.

As soon as she got back, she returned to her old job at the Hannaford pharmacy, saving up spending money for the next semester. The hours are keeping her pretty busy.

Saada picked Suffolk after finding it online, and liked the small classes sizes. She said she found herself studying five to 10 hours a week and doing really well in classes, except maybe math. It’s pre-calculus, a required course. “I never would have chosen that.”

Her major is still undecided. “I’m not leaning to anything. It’s scaring me,” Saada said.

Saturday nights at college have found her hanging out with a group of friends. Sometimes they go to the movie theater across the street from her apartment building, sometimes they hang out at someone’s house. They’re all freshmen, and mostly women. She went into school with no interest in dating, and that hasn’t changed, Saada said.

She wasn’t ever tempted to skip a class this first semester to grab a few extra hours of sleep. “I’m paying tuition, I have to be in class,” she said, then thought about it a second.

“I wonder if that’s going to change once it starts to snow…”

– By Kathryn Skelton

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