First day of college is a watershed moment, made literal by the weather

Who says moving isn't fun? Not this student as he hauls his belongings into his new dorm at Upton-Hastings Hall.
The wet weather doesn’t dampen this student’s excitement to move into his dorm at Upton-Hastings Hall.

Nobody wants a wet pillow or a waterlogged TV. Students fought to keep their personal items dry as they moved into their dorms at the University of Southern Maine.

The process kicked into high gear on Friday, August 25. However, the rain started falling on Thursday night and didn’t let up until the next afternoon. The Gorham campus was already sopping wet and getting wetter as the first students arrived.

Cars began lining up as early as 7 a.m. Some had traveled only across town while others traveled across country. The majority of the first day arrivals were freshmen. With 551 members of the incoming class, traffic was steady even without most of the upperclassmen.

The cars were jammed so full of belongings that it took several trips back and forth into the dorms to unloaded them. That meant braving the elements. Hats and hoods were pulled low for some small measure of protection. Teeth were gritted. It was tough, sloppy work. But after the last box was unloaded, the smiles quickly returned to faces that were streaked with rainwater.

Given the chance to dry off and catch their breath, students were eager to share their thoughts on the weather, their new home, and their hopes for the year ahead. Here’s what they had to say.

A steady rain made for messy conditions to kick off Move-In Weekend in the parking lot outside Upton-Hastings Hall.
Headlights reflected in the rain-slicked surface of the parking lot at Upton-Hastings Hall as arriving students waited to unload their cars.
  • FAITH WOOD (second-year/transfer, Psychology): “It’s a little closer (to home in N.H.) than my last school, a better drive. Bigger campus. And I like the different variety of classes. It’s a lot bigger than my old school.”
  • DEX TREMBLAY (first-year, Music Education): “Band just seems like a lot of fun here. I’ve played in a couple of the youth ensembles here. I’ve liked it a lot and I like Dr. (William) Kinne, so I know it’s going to be fun.”
  • COLE BRYANT (first-year, Communication): “I’m just really trying to make friends and become an academic weapon overall.”
  • SHAERA KIMBALL-ARANGU (first-year, Psychology): “I’m Venezuelan-American. I was born and raised in Asia . . . I have family around here. I knew I’d have a good support group when I came here.”
  • SARAH WINN (first-year, undeclared major): “I love the community. I think it’s in a great location. And I’m just so excited for the new adventure here.”
  • ANGELINA McLAUGHLIN (first-year, Nursing): “So many things have happened in my hometown and I just want to come here and make a new fresh start.”
The steps at Robie-Andrews Hall seem a lot steeper when you are moving into your dorm, as this student found out.
The stairs at Robie-Andrews Hall seem a lot steeper when you are carrying all the contents of your dorm.
  • NICOLETTE DANIELS (first-year, undeclared major): “I have a vacation home in Maine, so I really love being in Maine and the beach and the coast and everything.”
  • KAITLYN SCHOENER (first-year, Nursing): “I don’t have an umbrella. Well, I didn’t bring one. That was my biggest mistake, so it’s been rough (moving in).”
  • ANDREW HALSEY (first-year, Electrical Engineering): “I’m away from home (in Enfield, Conn.), but I’m close where I’m still with my family but I’m my own person as well.”
  • AVA CARPENTER (first-year, undeclared major): Looking forward to “meeting people, trying new classes, spending time with my sister (Emma, listed next).”
  • EMMA CARPENTER (third-year, Anthropology): “I’m really excited to get back into my routine and the things that I know. I was pulling back in and was taken back and getting flashbacks from all the scenery.”
Two friends reunite with a handshake as they move into their dorms at Robie-Andrews Hall.
Friends reunite with a handshake as they wait to unload their cars outside Robie-Andrews Hall.