High School Me vs. College Me

Transitioning from high school to college can bring about many feelings of excitement and uncertainty. You may be wondering how your classes will change, how you will adjust to living with a roommate, or how you will get involved on campus. We checked in with Libby, a current UNE sophomore to discuss the similarities and differences between high school and her first year at UNE. From textbooks and workload to on-campus activities and roommates, here’s what Libby had to say about her transition to college:

Classes, Workload, and Textbooks

The structure of college classes differs from high school ones because of the semester format. Instead of year-long courses like in high school, classes wrap up each semester and an entire new set of courses begin after winter break. Our classes are also extremely structured in lecture and lab formats, so you can generally know what to expect from each class when you walk in on the first day.

In most classes, you will be expected to watch PowerPoint presentations and take notes outside of class. We have 3-4 exams per semester, including the final exam. Some professors will give quizzes periodically, which require lots of studying.

I find that the workload is somewhat less stressful than high school, but I also believe that has everything to do with the amount of free time I have. In college, time management is key, so as long as you stay on top of your work and find your best study tactics, the workload is entirely manageable.

Textbooks are definitely a necessity here, but there’s more flexibility in college when it comes to the format you prefer. Throughout my semesters at UNE, I’ve learned that I like renting my textbooks digitally, so I can have them open on my laptop while I take notes. If I’m looking for a concept or vocabulary word in a pinch, I can easily search the digital version for it. I can even have access to my books on-the-go with my laptop or iPad.

Others prefer to rent or even buy a hard-copy book so they can read it or highlight it, which is another option we have. Often times, the library also has textbooks available for rent. Overall, I’ve found that we have more options than I did in high school, which I appreciate.

Residential Life: Adjusting to Roommates

Growing up, I never had to share a room with a sibling for any extended period of time, so I was worried about sharing my space with another person. I also highly value my alone time, so I was worried that I might not be able to get that while sharing a room with others.

I lived in a triple room my first year, which I was a little concerned about. However, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had here at UNE so far. I really enjoyed living with two roommates because I was introduced to so many more people through their experiences and connections, and I was able to have different experiences based on their individual interests.

Of course, we had our differences and disagreements, but our Resident Advisor was always there to help us communicate well and work through any issues. It takes a bit of time to adjust, but it was an overall positive experience and I met some of my lifelong friends living in Featherman Hall, my first-year residence hall.

Life at UNE: Getting Involved on Campus

College social life is one of my favorite parts about being on campus because everyone accepts you for who you are. I’ve learned that UNE is exceptional in this regard: no matter what your interests are, you are bound to fit in with your peers. I say this coming from a high school that wasn’t necessarily as welcoming. Coming to UNE was like a breath of fresh air, where I felt like everyone accepted my true self and I could express myself however I wanted.

Before my first year at UNE, I was curious about how I was going to make friends in college. I moved schools between middle school and high school, though, so I had already been through the process of making new friends and deciding how I wanted to portray my true self. When I got to college, making friends was easy for me because everyone was in the same situation and didn’t have any friends on campus yet. During the first few weeks, my peers were still getting to know one another, so it took a while to determine which crowd I really wanted to be in, but it was nice because I got to know so many people during that time.

We have so many clubs and organizations that I truly believe there is something for everyone. We also have an excellent First Year Experience office and Orientation team whose purpose is to integrate first-years into our college community. As an orientation leader, I really enjoy being a guide for our first-years because their work was so monumental and important to my experiences as a first-year.

Connect With UNE to Learn More

We’re so grateful for Libby’s honesty and transparency about her experiences as a first-year student. Whether you’re an accepted student headed to UNE this fall or you’re in the early stages of learning about the University, we have several ways for you to connect with us and explore what UNE offers. 

Accepted Students Events — Our New Nor’easters virtual series for accepted students has kicked off! Watch our recent Next Steps event here, and see the upcoming events in the series. You can also sign up for our on-campus events, which include Accepted Student Days and New Nor’easters Hockey Night. Learn more and sign up here

Campus Tours and Information Sessions —  From student-led tours of our beautiful coastal Biddeford Campus to academic information sessions about your program of interest, sign up for a visit and see if UNE is the right fit for you.

You can also sign up for our on-campus events, which include accepted student days and even a New Nor’easters hockey night. Learn more and sign up here. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out directly to your admissions counselor. We look forward to connecting with you virtually or seeing you on campus soon!

Post By:


Applied Exercise Science ’25

Libby is a current sophomore Applied Exercise Science student at UNE. From being a Student Ambassador to running the UNE Club lacrosse team (and lots in between), she loves staying involved on campus. She hopes you’ll come to love UNE just as much as she does. Read more about Libby here.