RUMFORD — During the winter break from college, Mountain Valley High School Alumni flock back to the area. Some crave home cooking. Others long to see friends and compare notes about the first semester of college. Still others choose to share their new-found knowledge of college life with students still at MVHS.

English teacher John Bell invited members of the Class of 2012 who are now college freshmen to reveal their experience to current juniors and seniors. English teachers Natalie Simmons, Jim Aylward and Meg Doughty assisted Bell in facilitating the panels.

Justin Milligan contrasted college life with high school. “No parents, everything is on your own. You are in charge of waking up, getting to class on time, and studying,” he said. “I have to keep a portfolio of all work to pass in at the end of the semester. I also have to sit in lectures; some of mine were eight hours long.” Milligan is in automotive technology at Central Maine Community College.

On the academic end of college, Alexander Parent said, “Reading the textbook is more of a necessity than ever before.” Parent is a finance major at University of Maine.

“You can choose when your classes are – day or night, weekday or Saturday,” said Karlie Dyment. “Also, the work and study load is also a challenge as well. Just take your time and pace yourself, and you’ll do just fine. Advocate for yourself is also key.” Also a Central Maine Community College student, Dyment is in general studies/medical assisting.

Then the questions changed to what current high school students could do prepare for college. The answers revolved around developing good habits that would transfer to college work.

Cassandra Dyke, a UMF elementary education major, offered, “Don’t half do your work. Give your best effort all the time.”

Another UMF student, Delaney Paterson said, “Get time management down. It’s absolutely crucial to learn, especially in college. With so much free time, it would be really easy to put things off. You get a lot more free time than you would expect.” Paterson is a secondary education and math major.

Returning from Dartmouth College, neuroscience student Katie Billings advised, “Take as many AP [advanced placement] courses as possible. Even if you are not planning on a career in a specific subject, AP classes will prepare you for the workload, writing, and difficulty level of college. Though I am a science major, the classes that helped me the most were my AP history courses.”

Chelsea Bordeau followed up with, “Take everything seriously and push yourself.” She majors in biology and pre-veterinary medicine.

In moments of self-reflection, the alumni revealed some of the things they wished they had done in high school.

Emily Gallant, criminal justice at Saint Joseph’s College, said she would “have tried harder in my classes.”

Noah Tanguay-Collins had a similar wish. As a business/marketing major at Endicott College, he would have “put more time into my studies.”

Finally, Kyle Kennedy would have “organized my time more.” He is studying biology at UMF.

Additional visiting alumni included Arianna Glover, marine biology at Maine Maritime Academy; Ashleigh Milligan, vocal performance at McNally Smith College; Kirsten Ridge, nursing at University of New England; and Heather Theriault, animal and veterinary science at UMO.

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