Meet the Class of 2012

February, 2009

by Barbra Alan

2012

Class of 2012

The class of 2012, 1,084 students strong, is the largest first-year class in Plymouth State University history. Forty-one percent of them are the first in their family to attend college. On average, they are 18 years old. Business is the most popular major among the class, with education a close second.

But statistics don’t tell you about these students as individuals. What follows is an introduction to seven first-year students. They come from as far as South Africa and as near as Conway, NH. Just months into their PSU education, these students are far from the stereotypical bewildered and beleaguered freshmen. They’re bright, they’re confident, and they’re already shaping their own unique PSU experiences.

bulanovaElena Bulanova

Hometown: Chelyabinsk, Russia
Major: Sociology

How did you learn about PSU?
I worked in Lincoln, NH, for three summers through a work and travel program, and all of my friends in Lincoln went to Plymouth State and loved it.

What is the best part of college life so far?
Interacting with other people. Everyone is very friendly and happy; the professors, the admissions people, and the students try to create a family-type environment.

If you could offer advice to next year’s first-year students, what would you say?
Enjoy your freedom, but be responsible—this is about your future. Not everybody gets the opportunity to go to college. Freedom’s exciting, but the number one goal is to get your education and get somewhere in life.

What is your favorite place on campus?
I like the main floor of the library; I love the chairs and the big windows.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Theodore Dreiser, Oscar Wilde, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky.

What kinds of music do you enjoy?
It depends on my mood, but I love popular Spanish music and Middle Eastern belly dance music—I learned to belly dance back home.

defeoJake Defeo

Hometown: Conway, NH
Major: Social Science

Why did you choose to attend PSU?
I want to be a teacher and I heard PSU had a very good teaching program.

What is the best part of college life so far?
The freedom.

If you could offer advice to next year’s first-year class, what would you say?
Enroll in Community Service Orientation. That was really helpful to me. You get to move in a week before everyone else, you get to meet people, and you get to help out in the community. It was really fun and I highly recommend it.

What is your favorite place on campus?
When the weather is nice, the lawn in front of Mary Lyon Hall is my favorite place to be. Otherwise, I’m usually in the HUB or in Mary Lyon, playing pool.

What are some of your favorite books?
I like fantasy, science fiction, and classic mysteries, like Sherlock Holmes.

plankeyAbbey Plankey

Hometown: Vergennes, VT
Major: I’m a theatre major with an acting option, but I’m also looking into set design.

How did you learn about Plymouth State?
My high school theatre teacher gave me some college catalogs to look at, and one of them was Plymouth State’s. I auditioned for the theatre program, took a tour, and just fell in love with it. When I was told that the campus has a lot of green initiatives in place, that put PSU a step ahead of other schools I was considering.

What is the best part of college life so far?
I’m enjoying how easy it is to make new friends. All of the classes I’m taking now are small, which makes it easier to have close friends. In the residence hall where I live, Blair Hall, there’s an open-door policy. You’re welcome anywhere a door is open. I really enjoy that.

If you could offer advice to next year’s first-year class, what would you say?
Be yourself, rather than conform to a group. And keep your eyes open for upcoming events.

What is your favorite place on campus?
I enjoy the garden level of Blair Hall. All of the doors are always open. People hang out in the kitchen or the lounge. I also love being in the costume shop in the Silver Center, which is where I work.

What are some of your favorite books?
Since coming here, I find that I’m reading books from more diverse genres than I had in high school. I recently read Black Gold Stranglehold, in which the authors state that oil is not a fossil fuel and question the existence of global warming. Now I’m reading a book by John Kerry called This Moment on Earth, which asserts the opposite. It’s interesting to read these different viewpoints, compare their facts, and decide for myself what to believe.

What kinds of music do you enjoy?
My favorite band is Newfound Glory, an alternative rock band. I really enjoy all different kinds of music, except country. Because I’m a theatre major, I listen to a lot of show tunes, like Mamma Mia!, Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Bare, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

obrienKorey O’Brien

Hometown: Nashua, NH
Major: Communications. I want to go into video production. In high school, I spent two years in the video production program, and produced my own television show.

Why did you choose to come to PSU?
The campus is beautiful, and I felt that the faculty and students were so friendly and relaxed.

What is the best part of college life so far?
Being able to sleep in until 10 a.m., meeting new people, and trying new things.

If you could offer advice to next year’s first-year class, what would you say?
Get out and be open to new experiences. Meet your professors and make sure they know you on a first-name basis.

What is your favorite place on campus?
For studying, I love to go to Lamson Library and sit in one of those big chairs. I also like the lounge in [Samuel Read] Hall [Residence Hall]. And I love being outside on campus.

What kinds of music do you enjoy?
I like all kinds of music. If you look through my iTunes, you won’t see any bands listed twice.

roestGeoff Roest

Hometown: Voorheesville, NY
Major: Meteorology

How did you learn about PSU?
Through online research. I wanted a small school. I toured five schools, and I thought Plymouth State was the most inviting. And the students are so diverse that it’s easy to fit in and find friends.

What is the best part of college life so far?
There are so many things to do. Every night during the week I’m with friends or involved with a club. I’m a member of PACE [Programming Activities in a Campus Environment], the Meteorological Society, the Electronic Gaming Club, the Snowboarding Club, and I plan on becoming an admission representative.

If you could offer advice to next year’s first year class, what would you say?
Get involved. That’s what has helped me the most. I came here not knowing anyone, and through all the clubs and activities I’ve met many cool people and made many friends.

What is your favorite place on campus?
I like going to the HUB. You can hang out, get some work done, and relax in the Fireplace Lounge.

What kinds of music do you enjoy?
I like the Beatles and Elliott Smith.

marveyMervin Marvey

Hometown: Rustenburg, South Africa
Major: Theatre

How did you learn about PSU?
I came here in 2007 to do a musical called Hope Is Like a Feather with [Professor of Education] Trish Lindberg’s Kearsarge Arts Theatre company. I told Trish that I wanted to study abroad, and she introduced me to Plymouth State.

What is the biggest challenge of college life so far?
Finding balance between academics and my social life. Time management can be difficult. As an international student, I’m still finding my way. It’s very fast-paced, and I want to absorb all I can.

If you could offer advice to next year’s incoming international students, what would you say?
Go big or go home. If you make the decision to come and study abroad, you need to open your mind and “think abroad.”

What is your favorite place on campus?
Because I’m with the theatre department, I spend a lot of time in the Silver Center. I also really love the HUB. It has everything.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
John Kani, the South African playwright. And I love Roald Dahl. I grew up reading his books—in South Africa, we study his works. I’m enjoying Shakespeare’s plays, as well.

What kinds of music do you enjoy?
Traditional African music has a lot of spirit and it’s absolutely my favorite. Jazz, blues, Eva Cassidy, Tracy Chapman—she’s amazing. Lebo M is amazingly talented. I’m really open to all kinds of music.

tuckerMolly Tucker

Hometown: West Hartford, CT
Major: I’m undecided

How did you learn about PSU?
A girl from my town had gone here, and she recommended it to me. I came up for a tour and thought it was the ideal school for me. I felt that the class sizes were perfect: not too big and not too small.

What is the best part of college life so far?
Meeting new people from different environments.

If you could offer advice to next year’s first-year class, what would you say?
Join an activity or work on campus, so you get to know more people. I work at the HUB, in the information booth. It’s a good way to learn about the school.

What is your favorite place on campus?
I like the lawn in front of Mary Lyon Hall. It’s really pretty, especially in the fall.

What are some of your favorite books?
I love The Color of Water, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Secret Life of Bees.

What kinds of music do you enjoy?
All kinds, but I especially like John Mayer, the Mamma Mia! soundtrack, and Pink—she’s really good.

Plymouth Magazine gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following PSU staff members to this story: Jane Barry, international student advisor; Terri Potter, director of the Hartman Union Building; Linda Corriveau, Community Service Center coordinator; and Jane Weber, director of the Writing Center.


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