Fall has officially arrived and our college freshmen have almost made it through their first semester of their college careers. They’ve been dealing with all kinds of waves of excitement, fits of anxiety, and thrills from the expectations of a true college experience. What we tend to forget, however, is that freshmen aren’t the only ones starting over. More than 33% of students end up transferring at some point during their college years and I was one of them. Transferring can be tough, but it’s how you approach it that can help with an easier transition.
Before you make any decisions make the time to visit schools you’re interested in, even schedule appointments with professors, the only way you’ll know a school is for you is finding out first hand. You have to attend open houses, you have to step out of your comfort zone and ask friends, or friends of friends, about their experience. There’s no exact formula to follow to find your perfect school, but when you find it you’ll know.
Once you’ve decided on a school, tackled the application process and seamlessly been accepted, the anxiety may start to creep in. The feeling of being a freshman all over again is overwhelming. And while that feeling is valid, you have more control over the situation than you might realize. You’ve already gone through at least a year or two in college classes, you know the best way to buy your textbooks and making friends is the same everywhere. You’re ahead of the freshman; your challenge is to apply what you already know to a new environment. Don’t let that intimidate you, it’s exciting. You get to start over in a brand new place with a cluster of new people. The possibilities are endless, embrace the unknown.
For me, transferring was the plan from the very beginning. In my experience, the school I was leaving tried to get me to choose a major I wasn’t entirely interested in and go through their program. Professors and the department head tried to discredit the college I had chosen, which only further convinced me that I was making the right choice. Transferring to St. Joseph’s College was the best decision I could have made for myself. It was a small campus allowing me to have personal relationships with my professors and actually get to know my fellow classmates. The difference between my new school and my old was the morale, people cared and that mattered to me. Being constantly surrounded by people who were miserable was taking a toll on me, I needed to be around people who were ready to learn and eager to make the most of their college experience.
My goal was to get the college experience I deserved. I wanted to meet new people and actually enjoy heading to campus every day. So, I went to the events on campus, I signed up for clubs that I deemed interesting and I pushed myself to do more than just going to class. The beginning is hard: figuring out your schedule, meeting new people, forcing yourself to be open to the new and the different.
The reason behind transferring is different for everyone. Whether it’s financial, the feeling of homesickness, or the desire to make a change, it’s ultimately up to you. I can’t stress this enough though: Don’t let anyone tell you what you should do with your future or where you should go to further your education. College is all about figuring yourself out and whether or not you do, no one else should be pressuring you to do so a certain way. Choosing the right school is up to one person and one person only: you. If you find yourself in a community where you don’t feel you fit in, maybe transferring is the option for you. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind, and it’s more common than you’d think. Your happiness is the most important thing, make the decision that you feel is best for you.