There are two different types of transfer students:
- The ones that take to their new schools like fish take to water
- The ones that drown in the overwhelming ocean of possibilities that is his or her new campus
This survival guide is for the latter, but even if you do not associate yourself as a “drowning” newcomer, you’re more than welcome to read anyway.
Step 1: Breathe
Literally. Take a big ol’ gulp of that N2O2. It’s important to stay calm and not allow yourself to be overwhelmed or intimidated by your new school, whether it be the campus, the classes, the students, etc. Whenever you feel like your heart is going to beat out of your chest and want to go running back home, take a minute—a full 60 seconds—and breathe. Stay calm and take everything in at your own pace.
Step 2: Talk to your Adviser. A Lot.
If you are anything like me, you probably have little to no idea about the variety of classes and majors that your new school offers. Lucky for me, my adviser took it upon himself to make sure I got into a major that truly suited me. Forming that bond with your adviser is important. He or she can become a great mentor to help keep you on track throughout your college career.
Step 3: Join a Club!
The worst thing you can do is transfer to a new school not knowing anyone and then continue not to make efforts to get to know more people. Joining a club is the best way to meet and get to know people that share your interests. Colleges have everything from photography clubs to video gaming clubs, from foreign language clubs to reading clubs. Chances are, if you have a hobby, there is a club for it. Find one (or two) that you think is right for you and join! There is truly nothing better than being able to go on and on about a subject that you love with other people who love it too. If the club scene isn’t for you (See what I did there? Ha.), there are also study groups that get together regularly. Whatever your passion may be, there are sure to be other people on campus that share it.
Step 4: Have Fun
College can be some of the best years of your life. Take advantage of the opportunities that come with your new school. Go out, have a drink or two (or three…who’s counting?), eat too much, stay up late, and laugh until your sides hurt. Revel in being young and slightly reckless. Make these years count, so when you look back 50 years from now, it will be with fondness instead of regret from missed opportunities.
At the end of the day, transferring schools can overwhelming and downright terrifying. However, if you follow this guide, you’ll be sure to enjoy the journey. Just stay calm, seek help, meet new people, and have fun while you do it. These are your “glory days”—make them count, even if sometimes it’s scary.