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6 Lessons I learned from being a Transfer Student

I have been in college for four years, and I am still a year away from my blessed “prospective graduation date”. Am I a Super Senior? Not in any form—I am a transfer student. I haven’t been able to stay at one school for more than a year, whether it is from wanderlust or sheer indecision I can’t really remember anymore. While my family jokes around that I won’t actually obtain my undergraduate degree because I’ll find a “better place”, my mind always goes back to the things that I have learned that I feel will help me anywhere my travels take me. These are just six of the many, but I feel they are the most important.
1. It’s Okay to be Unsure of Your Major or What You Want to Do in Life
Numerous friends of mine have repeatedly told me they knew directly out of high school what they wanted to do with their life. I was not one of those people; I kept changing my major, adding and removing minors, and eventually I found my niche and went with it. In retrospect I would have done things a little bit different, but overall I have figured out that it is best to get the courses that are absolutely required everywhere (English, Science, etc) done first. Then worry about what you want to do. There are plenty of classes that you can take that will let you explore possible fields of interest.
2. Figure Out Your Degree Plan When You Get It
Each school has a different degree plan, specifically for your major and for their core requirements. As you could have guessed, it also varies from state to state and country to country. The most help I have had about coming to an understanding about what you should take and when, is from myself. Sitting down, either with someone who understands the system or alone, and writing out your degree plan in your own words may be more help to you than a late night coffee run on those all-nighters.

3. Be a Squeaky Wheel
Let’s face it. Some people have hard days and just don’t want to help others out. Sometimes those particular hard days just happen to fall on a day when you need an answer, and right now. I’ve been met with people that simply did not want to divulge the full answer to me, and I knew it. If you have to repeat your situation to everyone and their mother, do it. Be loud. If you need an answer to a problem, be a squeaky wheel. Yes, you will probably be known as “that girl”, but it’s better than not knowing. Remember, there are no stupid questions, just shy people.
4. Stock up on Basics
I cannot stress this point enough. Going to college, whether as a commuter or as a resident, can stress out your finances and your body. You want to be prepared as best you can for anything that comes, right? However, with so many deadlines and due dates and important class attendance policies, no one can really stop and rest when the flu hits them. That’s why it is best to stock up on basics: toiletries, medicine, microwaveable food, water, etc. This is best done when you have that little extra left from your refund or when your parents give you that little push financially. So when you are too broke to go get shampoo or too sick to get that flu medicine you can literally reach under your bed and get relief.
5. Know Your Work Load
The biggest thing I’ve noticed around campus, being involved in campus groups and just from observation alone: not a lot of people can correctly guess right off the bat what type of work load they can feasibly take on. I’ve seen people duck out of classes and the workload that they bring because they forgot to read for another class, and the same situation arises with groups and extra-curricular activities. Focus on your schooling first and foremost, and then gradually add on the extra activities. No one is going to fault you for it.
6. It’s Your Time to Be Selfish
Above all the things I brought with me when I started my college career, the most important was this lovely piece of advice. My aunt told me that I should, and I’m paraphrasing here, “[forget] everyone else, focus on your situation. This is your time to be selfish.” College is a time to network, develop skills, learn, and make lasting friendships. However, if you never give yourself a break or continually lack to take full care of yourself all of these things can fall apart and you’ll be stuck with a sick, sad, self. If your whole college experience is concentrating on getting that Four-Point GPA and less concentrated on working or activities that is absolutely fine.
As a veteran transfer student, these are the lessons I’ve learned on my own over the span of my college career. I feel as long as we all keep these, and the more basic ones, in mind then we will all be able to fulfill our college careers in the best way possible. Remember, Confucius had it right when he said, “It does not matter how slowly you go—as long as you do not stop.” 

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