DIXFIELD — Seven Dirigo High School graduates on Monday advised seniors about their college experiences and life after high school.

Justin Richards, a senior at the University of Maine at Orono majoring in biology, was asked if there was anything that would have made his transition from high school to college easier.

“Looking back, I wish I would’ve spent some more time with people at the college before going to see what the atmosphere was like,” he said.

Hannah Knight, a senior nursing student at the University of Maine at Orono, said she had a hard time making the switch from living with parents to living with a roommate.

“You have a lot more responsibilities,” Knight said. “You go to teachers for help. They won’t come and see if you need help with anything. It’s your responsibility to seek them out when you don’t understand something.”

One student asked about extracurricular activities in college.

Justin Conant, a senior finance and economics major at the University of Maine at Orono, said there are around 230 different groups in Orono.

“If there’s something you’re interested in and there’s no club for it, you can easily start your own and become the president. I mean, look at him,” Conant said, gesturing toward Brian Volkernick, a freshman wildlife ecology major at the University of Maine at Orono. “This guy saw there was no bass fishing club at UMaine and started a bass fishing club. You’re looking at the president of the bass fishing club!”

Cody Berryment, a senior criminal justice major at Husson University, said he took a year off after graduating from Dirigo High School. “A lot of people feel pressured to go to college right after graduating, but it’s OK to take a year off,” he said.

A student asked Isiah Brown if he missed anything about being in high school.

“Not really,” said the UMO freshman to a smattering of laughter. He is majoring in civil and environmental engineering.

A question on how to deal with the fear of being placed with a random roommate was addressed by Knight.

“I know a lot of people who were friends and decided to room with each other, and it didn’t work out well,” Knight said. “Me and my roommate didn’t know each other when we met, and it was a rough start at first, but now we’re best friends and still are to this day. I think it all depends on who you get, but also what your outlook is.”

Studying was another issue the college students addressed and Brown suggested avoiding doing homework alone.

“I do homework in groups all the time,” Brown said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s math, science, physics or chemistry. You’re going to want to find some people in the same class so you can help each other. No one should go through college without the help from some friends.”

Conant said the biggest part of a college student’s career is prioritizing.

“Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize,” he said. “You need to figure out what you need to spend money on versus what you don’t need. It’s a huge part of being in college.”

One concept that all seven students agreed is vital to being in college was responsibility.

“The biggest thing to get used to is being reliant on yourself,” Richards said. “When you’re in college, you have a schedule to stick to and you’re completely on your own. Teachers aren’t harping on you to do stuff. You need that self-drive to do work on your own.”

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