To the Transfer Student Who Just Got Accepted

Congratulations, you’re officially a Tarheel!

Transferring to a new school can be scary, especially when it is a school as highly ranked and as large as UNC.  As a person who has transferred from a community college to a state school and now to UNC, I can say with certainty that it doesn’t get easier, but it’s definitely worth it.

 Tiffany Small and Lura Elizabeth McCraw, people smiling, outdoor

What they don’t tell you in your acceptance letter, or even orientation, is that, if you’re a transfer student, you need to be willing to seek out help. You will be going in to the school with the knowledge of a freshmen, but have none of the handholding. My first week on campus I felt like a fish out of water until I found my savior, my academic advisor, Dr. Lithgow. DO NOT just keep the academic advisor that you are randomly given in the system. A computer does not know or care what is best for you. Try a few advisors out. See who will be the best fit for you. Your advisor is going to help you maneuver this big university, as well as maneuver the classes you need in order to graduate, while also being someone in your corner that wants you to succeed just as much as you do.

Live on campus your first year. When coming to Carolina, I dreaded living in a dorm. At every other school I have attended, I lived off campus. I didn’t want a stranger as a roommate and I definitely didn’t want to share a small space. However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise. My roommate is now one of my best friends, and I wouldn’t have been able to get through this experience without her. Living on campus helps you be a part of the school. It makes you want to go to events, because they’re only minutes away from your room.

Getting involved is so important. If you only take classes and do homework, you are missing out on so much of what is amazing about being a Tarheel. Don’t be too cool for school events. Go to Week of Welcome! There is always a promise of free stuff, whether that is food, t-shirts or something else. Join a club, experience Halloween on Franklin Street, sing "Hark the Sound" at a basketball game or go to a trivia night. This is the best way to make friends and experience all that UNC has to offer. There are also clubs, classes and events specifically for transfer students, where you can meet people who will understand just what you’re going through. There is even a transfer living community on campus made to help transfers meet people and make the most of their UNC experience. Don’t get lost in the sea of students. Find your people. It makes all the difference.

 5 people, including Tiffany Small, Sabrina Berndt and Meredith Norman, people smiling, people standing and indoor

Remember that your mental health is important. ASK FOR HELP. Make yourself a priority. Before coming to school, find out where the mental health center is located on campus. Know your limits. If you have anxiety, find some coping strategies that will work best for you. If you have depression, let your friends know so they can help you if you need it. It can be so easy to overload yourself with class, homework, friends, clubs and work to the point that your mental health can sometimes be forgotten. Grades, friends and work are important, but they are not more important than your health and happiness.

Changing schools is challenging, but it is so worth it. Just remember that you picked this school for a reason. You are meant to be here. You were accepted! Not many people can say that. You’re a Tarheel Born, Tarheel Bred, and when you die you will be a Tarheel Dead.

Welcome to the family Tarheels! See you in the fall.