In my senior year of high school, I had to make a decision about the future. I was not a hardworking student back then, did my homework, passed my classes, but I just wasn’t the top of class straight A kinda guy. So after the SAT, I had to think about which college to go to, and what major should I pick. With the help from TRIO, I got to send out up to 7 college applications for free, if memory serves, I had chosen UMO, USM, SMCC, Husson, WIT in Boston, and just for kicks and giggles, MIT and Bowdoin. A couple of months later I received acceptance letters from all of them, except of course, MIT and Bowdion. So i took a tour, went to Old Town, Boston and Gorham. The campuses were nice, and they had pretty good food, considering you are paying thousands every year just for room and board. And for that exact reason, plus being the guy who’s not so sure about what he really wanted to do for a living and whether or not he was cut out for a four year university, I decided to go to SMCC instead. The plan was after two years in SMCC, if I wanted to transfer, most of the credits would be transferable, besides, I’d have a chance to see what college life was really like, you know what they say, college isn’t for everyone.
As for my major, I had a general idea about what I wanted to study, but nothing specific. I knew I wanted it to be technology related, and SMCC offers Computer Science, Information Technology and Cyber Security. I could do some coding, it was fun, but I didn’t want to do it everyday; Cyber Security was in high demand, it still is today, but I wanted to choose a major that had a little bit of everything, so I ended up choosing InfoTech.
My first year at SMCC was quite interesting, I had to take a bunch of required courses from other departments. English 101, discrete math, and electives such as Biology and sociology. I had a chance to meet a lot of people with different majors, different age groups too. I have had people in my class who were in their 40s, people with kids, dogs; veterans, firemen, and people who just vanished after midterm. Man was it diverse and fun! The first days of each semester were always tough, because I couldn’t figure out which buildings the classes were at. Those little booklets they handed out in campus center didn’t help much, the map was small and confusing, but I always managed to find my classes in the end.
Since I’m writing about my SMCC experience here, I can’t do it without mentioning one thing: the beach. SMCC has one of the best campus locations when compared to other schools. Although I didn’t spend enough time to appreciate the scenery in my first year there, most of my second year IT classes were held in a building sitting right next to the beach. You can walk out of your class, open the door, and there is the ocean, you can see it through the windows. Sometimes I’d just sit on one of those benches and enjoy the sun, the sea breeze, and watch the birds. People would walk their dogs on the sand, go for a jog. In the summer, you can see some folks laying on towels, tanning. I never understood tanning by the way, burning under the sun, getting extra dose of radiation, try spray tanning instead. But the beach and the ocean is always beautiful, with or without people.
But nothing is perfect, if I had to pick one thing bad to talk about SMCC, it’d be the parking situation, hands down. Now I think the source of the problem is the ever growing student population and limited parking space. But not being able to find a parking spot is not the worst part, some people park on the grass, the side of the road, including me, when the parking lot is full. But the campus security guys, man oh man, knowing we don’t have enough parking space, and we have to get to class on time, hand out parking tickets like there is no tomorrow. They’d walk around the campus in their fancy little security uniforms, with bags of tickets, looking for the next victim. One could argue they are just doing their job, but if I had that job, I’d quit before breakfast. I’d be surprised to find a single student who hasn’t gotten a parking ticket yet from the school. At this point I’m just glad I won’t have to deal with this parking nightmare for too long. And the tourists taking up student parking makes things worse, most of the time they’ll just ignore the signs that say STUDENT PARKING on them.
All in all the horrible parking is only a small part of the SMCC experience, there are plenty of good things SMCC has to offer. I have had a overwhelmingly positive experience from my time there, friendly instructors, helpful peers, and most importantly, the stuff I got to learn. I can’t speak for other departments, but as an IT major, you are guaranteed to have all the hardware and software resources you need. I have a friend who just graduated last semester with his criminal justice degree, and a couple more in the process of getting their associate’s in varies departments. Aside from all the academic knowledge I have learned, I also see personal improvements over the last two years. I find myself skipping less classes, handed in homework on time most of the time, and instead of going to classes, I started enjoying them, exited about what I was about to learn. I don’t want to quote some cliche nonsense about the “secret to success”, but I genuinely feel that if you want to get something done, all you’ll have to do is to care about it a little more, that’s all it takes.