The colors of the leaves and crispness of the air can evoke a certain feeling ingrained by falls of the past. Refreshed from the summer, you’re ready to take on a new school year.
Then you remember that you worked all summer in the same job you did all year, and nothing about your life is about to change because it’s fall, aside from your heating bill.
Well, it’s time to realize that your greatest college days could still be ahead. Rather than lament Septembers of the past (which, at the time, you likely dreaded), you can take advantage of all that Maine’s campuses have to offer in the fall, and you won’t have to share a dorm room or pull a single all-nighter.
Here are some of the ways you can relive college – without the term papers:
Go to the big game
When it comes to displays of college spirit, there’s no place like homecoming. If you’re unfamiliar with the ubiquitous fall tradition, it usually centers around a football game where students don school colors, alumni return to tailgate and some people actually watch a few plays. Husson University in Bangor opens up its two-day homecoming celebration to anyone who wants to come. On Friday, Sept. 23, comedian Caroline Rhea, best known at Aunt Hilda on “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” will perform stand-up at the university’s Gracie Theatre. The next day, tailgating starts at 10 a.m. before your own Husson Eagles take on Alfred State at 1 p.m. That night, back at the Gracie, pop vocal group The Company Men takes the stage.
Husson University, 1 College Circle, Bangor
Take a stroll across campus
Walking to class across the quad, among old buildings and manicured lawns, might be the most quintessential college activity – after keg stands. But because your body is likely to reject binge-drinking beer upside down, you’re better off taking a stroll across a campus and thinking back fondly on those same walks so many years ago. You can probably create an even better memory by visiting College of the Atlantic, whose Bar Harbor campus has been recognized for its beauty. Broad lawns, tucked-away gardens and water views make up the 37 wooded acres that lie between Frenchman Bay and Acadia National Park. Near the center of campus, you might see students playing pickup soccer or a class being held on the grass, which should serve as a reminder that it’s better to be you.
College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden St., Bar Harbor
Eat in the dining hall
Gone are the days when meals at college were a choice between a hockey puck of a hamburger patty and a bowl of cereal.
Like everywhere from hospitals to golf courses, college dining halls are taking their food seriously, serving up healthy, locally sourced and diet-sensitive options for students – and visitors, too. The Commons at Bates College in Lewiston, which has been recognized for its sustainability practices including having water-saving faucets and vast vegetarian offerings, is open to the public for lunch ($8.50), dinner ($9.50) and weekend brunch ($9.50). Grab a tray and at least relive the experience of communal college dining, even if the menu doesn’t bring back any memories. Recent offerings included gluten-friendly New England pot roast, curried seitan with sesame vegetables and a pasta bar with whole wheat penne and olive pesto. Now, you’ll appreciate that you get all you can eat.
Commons, Bates College, 136 Central Ave., Lewiston
Belly up to a college bar
You’d need a college ID to get into student nights at most pubs and clubs near Maine’s campuses. But, even if you don’t have an old or fake one (how the tables have turned!), you can still take advantage of the low prices and daily specials that many college town taverns use to entice cash-strapped co-eds to hit the bar after they hit the books. The Bear Brew Pub in Orono keeps Black Bear Brewing Co. beers on tap to appease its Black Bear patrons and offers 50-cent wings and $1 well drinks on Wednesdays during the University of Maine’s school year. UMaine has made Princeton Review’s short list of party schools in the past, so pull up a bar stool – you might learn something.
The Bear Brew Pub, 36 Main St., Orono
See an a cappella concert
Whether you were the BBOC (best beat-boxer on campus) or just get a kick out of those “Pitch Perfect” movies (because, Anna Kendrick), there’s nowhere you’re going to find more a cappella per capita than on a college campus. Maine’s institutions of higher education are no exception, with many of them boasting several groups, from the Clefnotes at University of Maine Farmington to Bowdoin’s Meddiebempsters, randomly named for a town in Washington County. This fall, you can hear all that Colby College in Waterville has to aca-offer at its A Cappella Sampler on Sept. 9 in Lorimer Chapel. The lineup hasn’t been set yet, but if you’re lucky you’ll hear the all-male Colby 8, whose repertoire ranges from “Runaround Sue” to “River of Dreams.”
Lorimer Chapel, Colby College, Mayflower Hill Drive, Waterville
‘Study’ at the library
We all know, if you really need to get some studying done, you hole up in your dorm room or find a silent spot in a secluded building. You don’t plop down with a laptop on a comfy chair near the entrance to the library unless you’re hoping that someone comes by to put a stop to your feigned productivity. But now that you’re long past the days of the triple-spaced paper, you can waste away time in the library without the guilt – or the bad grades. The Mantor Library at the University of Maine at Farmington has a coffee shop across from the reference desk, so you can grab a cappuccino and today’s newspaper from the racks and join in on the procrastination.
Mantor Library, University of Maine Farmington, 116 South St., Farmington