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My Experience Being a Transfer Student in a Pandemic

When COVID first hit my college, I, like many, thought, “oh, great, I get an extended spring break!” This was especially exciting for me because at the time, I was not crazy about the college I was attending, struggling to find the community I hoped for. Little did I know that when I left for this “extended break,” I would not be returning to my school ever again. 

In early March 2020, I was already busy pondering a potential transfer. At the time, I went to a small, liberal arts college which, although was a really good school, I can’t say that I was happy there. The school only had about 2,000 students, which meant that sporting events, concerts, and even parties were underwhelming. When I couldn’t meet people in my classes, I turned to clubs to find people with similar interests. But when I went to the school involvement fair, there were very few clubs, and not many of them had to do with my interests and hobbies. On top of it all, I was very homesick, being over 1,000 miles from my home in Colorado. It seemed to make sense to transfer. And then came COVID. My one week spring break turned into a semester online. Being back at home made me realize that I did want to be back in-state. So with that, I had made the decision to transfer here to CU Boulder. 

Although I was excited to transfer to Boulder, my first year was not easy. I felt like I had moved to Boulder just to sit in my apartment doing online classes. Along with all of my classes, most clubs went all online or completely went off the radar for that year. It was turning out to be what seemed like another lonely year of college. But I knew that if I didn’t transfer, I would be doing the same thing somewhere else – I knew that this year was going to be a challenge either way. 

The transition was tough mentally and emotionally, but it also gave me a lot of time to think about how I wanted to make changes in my academic and social lives. This year, classes are back in person. Clubs are holding informational meetings and are gathering on campus. Things are starting to look up. And if there’s anything that my year in isolation taught me, it’s what not to do. It took me that one whole year of sitting alone to realize that I don’t want to do that ever again. It took a year of not meeting anyone, not doing anything to get me out of bed, not doing anything to make me better, to teach me that I was ready to make my new school my own. Living in total isolation was awful, but now that things are changing, I don’t want to just sit around and wait for opportunities to come to me because they might just not. This year, I am getting out and I’m doing stuff, because now I see that these experiences could be taken away from us at any given moment. And I don’t want to look back and say I did absolutely nothing during my time in college, especially at a beautiful school like CU Boulder.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it – transferring was not easy, and it wasn’t made any easier by the pandemic.  But coming out of it with a drive and passion to make this a good year at my new school was worth every minute of it. 

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Olivia Vasquez

CU Boulder '23

Olivia is a junior at CU majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology. She enjoys being creative by doing activities such as singing, drawing, painting, and crocheting. When she is not doing these things, she is probably getting overly attached to fictional characters.
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