Going to college can be a life-changing experience for students, as it provides a place of possibility and opportunity. The university space allows students to try out new things and learn about themselves in the process. One student who has taken advantage of the wealth of opportunity here at the University of Maine is Connor Ferguson, a fifth-year English student with a minor in creative writing.
Ferguson has been a part of numerous organizations, formed a deep connection to the English department, is involved with the student-run radio station and spends lots of time with the LGBTQ community on campus.
For Ferguson, the journey began quite far from UMaine in Iowa.
“I’m originally from the Midwest, from a small town in southeastern Iowa called Wayland, with a total population of about 900 people,” Ferguson said.
But since enrolling at UMaine, he has felt right at home among the many diverse organizations on campus. Ferguson attributed some of his success to the unique sense of community within LGBTQ groups, which he feels can really allow one to feel comfortable.
“Community itself is the most important aspect to me as an LGBT individual,” Ferguson said. “Feeling welcome in public spaces and knowing there are others like you makes me feel safer, which allows me to be myself and pursue creative, personal and professional goals. I think this heavier focus on community, not just within LGBT demographics but other minority demographics, is it what makes them unique. There’s a camaraderie and found family dynamic to the LGBT community that I don’t think is so common; we search for meaning and a place in the world through our relationships with others.”
In the academic sphere, Ferguson’s experience of UMaine’s English Department has also been a positive one, filled with interesting studies, discussions and individuals. Ferguson was able to find a supportive community to surround himself with.
“My favorite aspects of the English department is their openness to student ideas and their support of creative projects and general life as an attendee of the University of Maine. I could name numerous staff members that have been accommodating to my needs as a non-traditional student working three jobs, but overall, the English department fosters a welcoming space for humanities students,” Ferguson said.
The English department has also offered the opportunity of the McGillicuddy Humanities Fellowship, of which Ferguson has newly been awarded a fellowship. Ferguson’s project surrounds Modernist literature and its relation to the queer.
“I’m starting my reread of “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf, in order to incorporate it into my fellowship study about reviving queer identities in the literary canon,” Ferguson said.
As well as being very involved in the humanities, Ferguson also finds time to listen to large amounts of music and works as a DJ at WMEB, UMaine’s student radio station. His show is called “Deep Cuts” which airs Sundays at 10 p.m. to midnight.
Ferguson describes the show as a mixture of alternative pop, rhythm and blues, shoegaze, dream rock and ballads with a focus on highlighting new artists connection to older artists who have paved the way for their genres.
Spreading his time between his love for literature and a love for music, it is no surprise that Ferguson’s favorite places on campus are the WMEB studio or the second floor of the Raymond H. Fogler Library. Two places which attract people with the same passion for literature and music, fostering the community which Ferguson holds so dear.