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The Difficulties of Transferring Colleges: My Guide to Smooth Transition

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Holy Cross chapter.

“You’re going to have the time of your life in college”. That’s what I would hear every time someone asked me where I was going and what I was hoping to major in. Ultimately, this exact conversation led me to believe that college was actually going to be the place where I was going to have the time of my life. I thought to myself, “College is going to be just like the movies! It’s going to be the place where I become the best and coolest version of myself.” Turns out, I ended up being completely wrong. Although I actually did become a better version of myself, it wasn’t in the rom com way I dreamt of. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of people who choose their college end up absolutely loving it and staying for the entirety of their four years, but not me. No, I ended up absolutely hating it and staying for an entirety of two months.

The school I chose to attend had emailed everyone prior to the first day, implying that we would not be able to leave the town where the university was located. While I had never been to upstate New York, as soon as I got there and saw nothing but land, I immediately knew that this wasn’t going to be the time of my life. As I parked my car in front of my freshman dorm patiently waiting to unload all of my belongings into the place where I would now call home, I heard a knock on the passenger side door. As I glance over, I see my new roommate. Now the usual routine to take when selecting a roommate is to go random or choose someone you already know. Instead, I thought that choosing a roommate based off of Instagram was the best decision for me. Unfortunately, I learned further into the weeks ahead that this was most definitely not a good decision. We both had completely different living habits, completely different personalities, and completely different priorities. Due to this, everything that I had just put away ended up being moved into a single dorm room down the hall a few weeks later. I was excited to have my own room because I thought it would make things better for me.

Continuing on as if roommate conflicts weren’t enough, covid rules were so strict that we were not allowed in other people’s rooms, we were forced to learn online, and told to eat at certain times throughout the day. Due to the unpredictable virus and the common trust that “things can take time”, I gave this school the benefit of the doubt. Despite waiting it out, sooner or later I realized that the only place I wanted to be more than ever was back at home.

When covid slightly started clearing up on campus, I was forcing myself to go to parties. As someone who suffers from anxiety, drinking and parties have never really been a huge interest of mine. I preferred a kickback, which is defined as; a low-key party where everyone knows each other and the focus is to spend time relaxing with lots of food and drinks. Due to big parties being a priority on that campus, that lifestyle increasingly made me more unhappy. I hated the need to act like I enjoyed the parties in order to be liked or fit in, so I stopped going out all together. About a month later, I sat in my single dorm room lonesome, with little to no socialization. While yes, I could have gone out, deep down a part of me was slightly happier just sitting in my room all alone than pretending to be happy in a place I wasn’t. With about a million phone calls to my mom and my hometown friends each day, I began to realize that my mental health was at the lowest point it had ever been at. I was barely functioning and barely taking care of myself. This was something I knew I had to fix but I didn’t know how, until one day my friend asked me if I had ever considered transferring.

   I was nervous to transfer because I was scared that I would choose a school where history would repeat itself and I would be back at square one. While I contemplated this, I still found myself  sitting on my bed filling out the application to the College of The Holy Cross. As I went home and finished my spring semester online, I was beyond excited to attend Holy Cross. As a school that was closer to home and more academically challenging, it seemed like a better fit. As my first day grew closer and closer, I constructed a list of things I promised myself to do in order to have a better college experience. The first rule was to make my space feel like home. When I was in New York, I craved the warmth of my own house and the comfort of being in my hometown. When deciding what school I wanted to transfer to, I knew I wanted a school that was close to home and had more than just land and open fields. Holy Cross fit that preference because if I needed to get away from campus, or even just escape to a city, both were easily doable. As a home-body, this brought me a level of comfort I never knew existed. Having the ability to escape and go somewhere that’s like no other is truly the definition of a special place and one I’m grateful for.

This comfort also made me realize how important it is to go random for roommate selection if you are new or a freshman. If you and your roommate end up not getting along, there is no pressure that you signed yourself up for. On top of this, even in that situation, if your dorm feels as comfortable as home, things will feel easier. Incorporate your personality and style into your room, because comfort and aesthetics will make you enjoy going back to it. If you find that both having a roommate you don’t get along with and a comfortable room don’t help, try living off campus and in an apartment. I have had the luck of living at the Edge both this year and last year.

 In the second part of my list, I promised that I would try to introduce myself to more people without feeling anxious or insecure. This is the greatest way to find your own group and create a close knit circle of the people you enjoy spending time with the most. Especially at a smaller school like Holy Cross, connecting with people is important to day to day life. The best place to meet people as a transfer student was at Orientation. When you meet other transfer students, you find people who you can bond with about things the general population isnt going through. On my first day of Orientation, while I hadn’t known it then,  I made some of my closest friends.

Thirdly, join clubs! It’s so scary to do when starting out at a new school or even as a freshman but it’s the best way to meet people. Last year at Holy Cross, I joined Intramural Field Hockey and although I didn’t make many friends, I met a few who I say hi to when I see them around campus. This year, I joined HerCampus, not only to fulfill my love for writing, but also because I wanted to meet new people.

 My fourth rule:  you’ll feel more comfortable in your class if you know the people in them,  so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. This will especially help in scenarios where you need guidance on preparation for an exam/paper or interpreting a reading/problem. Sometimes, even the bond of how much you all despise the class can create long lasting friendships.

My fifth and final rule: don’t force yourself to go out and do things that you don’t enjoy.  If you do things that make you happy, you will find other people there who also enjoy those things. To tack onto this, don’t forget to take days off for yourself. Remember that if you need to take time for yourself and have a reset day or weekend, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you don’t feel like going out to socialize, there’s no pressure in that either. If you just want to take a nice hot shower, put a face mask on, and watch Netflix, then do that.

Before transferring, I resented the fact that my freshman year experience wasn’t the same as everyone else’s. I was mad at myself for the bad experience I had because I thought it was my fault. I felt like an outsider, like I should have been ashamed of that college not being the right fit for me. I will never again let my college experiences determine my overall happiness or allow other people’s experiences to make me feel insecure about my own. Although it took some time, I realized that my freshman year experience was something I should actually be grateful for. Not only did it nudge me in the right direction but I grew from the situation in so many different ways. I learned what I looked for in a perfect college and what I didn’t and I learned the kind of friends I like to have. I found the environment I enjoy being in and the importance of keeping my mental health a priority. Lastly, I learned that not everything in life is going to work out the way you think it will. To me, this phrase of college being the time of your life can be shaped in the way you want it to. For me, that meant finding a place where I feel included, where I can grow as a person, and where I can experience happiness in a simplistic way. I am thankful that history did not repeat itself and that Holy Cross has slowly become a special place for me. Ultimately, I’m happy to have created this list because it has helped me in so many ways, and I hope that if you are a struggling transfer student (as I was last year), it helps you too.

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Averie Yesair

Holy Cross '24

Hi! My name is Averie Yesair, and I'm from Newbury, MA. I'm a senior English major and creative writing minor. I enjoy listening to Emma Chamberlain, Andrew Huberman, and Steven Barlett's podcasts. A few things I love other than my family and friends are chipotle, chai tea lattes, my jeep, wakeboarding, sunsets, fishing and hanging with my dog Winston. I'm a huge homebody, and love spending nights in watching Cody Ko and Suits or rewatching New Girl.