What it’s Really Like to Stay in Orono over Winter Break

Orono, Maine: beloved home to the University of Maine campus and legendary restaurants like Pat’s Pizza, The Family Dog, and OHOP. These restaurants, usually bustling with hungry college kids, fell silent over the 2017 Winter Break. For all of us college students at UMaine, Orono is our home and holds many unforgettable memories. Every UMaine student loves returning to Orono after Winter Break (no matter how much it means going back to school and dealing with Park St. traffic). But what about those few students who stay in Orono while everyone else travels far and wide to visit their families? Well, here’s an inside look on what Orono is like behind the scenes from the eyes of a year-round Orono resident. 

 

Cons:

1. It’s. So. Lonely.

In a matter of a week, your available friend list cuts in half, leaving you with your parents, pets, and lots of Netflix binge-watching (I finished two separate Netflix shows this Winter Break…). This is one of the hardest parts about Orono “closing down” one the semester is over, most of your BFFs and partners in crime are gone. 

 

2. Need late-night pizza? Forget it, OHOP and Pat’s Pizza are closed. 

Don’t deny it, we have all had that 1 AM craving for OHOP’s famous ranch calzones or Pat’s Pizza’s “Big Pat.” The majority of the months out of the year, you can get some even as late as 2 AM (Once again, thank you OHOP), but not over Winter Break. During break, most Orono restaurants close as early as 10 every night, some even close down for a couple weeks entirely! Better pull out those frozen chicken nuggets for a late-night snack. 

 

3. Thursday night = school night.

Going out on Thursdays doesn’t exist during break. This is mostly because Orono’s population is sliced in half, leaving no one to visit the bars over the weekend. During break, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights turn into Girl’s Nights—with a plethora of chocolate and romance movies—or family pizza nights—a time to eat your weight in cheesy pizza and play your fave childhood board games. 

 

4. Winter Session is essential to survival.

Yes, trust me, it does get to that point where you are so bored you choose to study over break. Unless you work 40 hours a week or spend a lot of time sleeping, one of the best things to do to pass time is to take a winter course. After all, you’re killing two birds with one stone, getting closer to fulfilling your credits and filling your days with something to do.

 

5. Everywhere is closed early. 

That’s right! What seems like every college student’s fave places are closed up early whether it’s somewhere to hang out, grab a bite, or even the gym. Trying to get that rockin’ Spring Break bod? Do it before 10 pm or wait til tomorrow cause the Rec Center closes early! I thought that working out is good karma? 

 

Pros:

1. There’s no wait in the drive thru.

You know that 6 car-long line at Aroma’s about 20 minutes before class every morning? Yeah, that doesn’t exist over Winter Break. Imagine that! Aroma’s, just as tasty as ever, but with almost no wait. For those of you like me, who just cannot live without coffee and cannot get anywhere on time, there is nothing quite like pulling into a drive thru with no line. I’ll ever take this for granted again. 

 

2. Front row parking, everywhere you go. 

Seriously! In parking lots that are usually packed like Hannaford, All Town, or anywhere in downtown Orono, there is always an open parking spot. Especially in the winter, it is so nice to actually be able to park relatively close to your destination instead of walking what feel likes the length of the Appalachian trail in the frigid cold. Like I said, something I’ll never take for granted again. 

 

3. It’s so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

Okay so that’s a little bit of an exaggeration but still! Since there are barely any people to inhabit the dorms on campus, The Ave, The Reserve, or Orchard Trails during Winter Break, Orono really is kind of peaceful. Sometimes it’s nice and refreshing to live in Orono without it’s usual busyness. 

 

4. Last but certainly not least, there’s no traffic.

Are you really a UMaine student if you haven’t pulled a Carrie Underwood and let “Jesus take the wheel” at the Aroma’s/All Town intersection? Imagine leaving campus and there’s not a single car in sight. That’s what Orono is like during Winter Break. It is not impossible to get out of an intersection and for once, it doesn’t take 15 minutes to get through Orono, thanks to a lot of blinking yellow lights and lack of other cars on the road. 

 

Like everything else, staying in Orono over Winter Break has it’s pros and cons. Yeah the drive thru lines may be way shorter and there is finally some peace and quiet, but Orono just isn't same without all of it residents. Part of what really makes this little college town is all the people who go into it. All in all, it’s just not the same here during those couple of months out the year that Orono isn’t inhabited by us college students. 

 

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