Laura Gee: Deciding What's Right For Her

In high school, we’re expected to make decisions that will affect the rest of our lives. One of these decisions is choosing which university we want to spend the next four years of our life at. For some, this is a no-brainer, for others it might take a little more thought, and for a few, the assurance that you picked the right school for you might not come right away. Laura Gee is a junior studying Technical Writing and Communication in CLA, but it took her quite the journey before she knew that’s where she belonged.

Where did you go to school your freshman year? How did you ultimately decide to transfer?

I did my freshmen year of college at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. I had all these ideas about college as a senior in high school, like I needed to be at a small private college, I needed to get out of the Midwest, I didn’t want to go to a big university and be just a number, I needed to be on the west coast, etc. But all those things turned out to be very wrong, as I would find out.

I was super set on going to UPS since my junior year of high school, because one of my camp counselors that I was super close with went there. I ultimately decided to transfer because of money, and because the small private liberal arts college wasn’t a great fit for me. I really loved Washington but did not love UPS.

What changes did you make before your sophomore year?

I decided to transfer to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. At the time I decided to transfer to Luther because it was my second choice school (behind UPS), I had a few friends who went there, and I thought the transition would be pretty easy.

That didn’t exactly go as planned; it took me about two weeks to figure out that the small town life was not for me, and that (shocker) small private liberal arts colleges also aren’t for me. So I packed up all of my stuff and went home after two weeks, and took the rest of the semester off to get my life together.

How did you end up at the University of Minnesota?

Coming home from Luther was pretty traumatizing, and I felt like I had some serious soul searching to do. After two small private liberal arts schools I finally came to the conclusion that small schools weren’t the right fit for me. The U is kind of the opposite of Luther, so I decided why not look at the U? All my instincts so far about college had been wrong, what did I have to lose?

My dad also went to the U for his undergrad and master’s and he LOVED it. He and my mom always told me I should to go to the U but I didn’t actually listen to them or consider it until I came back from Luther. My dad actually transferred from a small liberal arts college after his freshman year, too, so he really knew how I was feeling.

I knew that going to school out of state wasn’t really a great option anymore, so I decided to listen to my parents (for once), took a tour of the U and was super impressed! I was pretty much convinced from that tour that I could see myself at the U, and that it was going to be a good fit for me.  

In what ways is the U different than the other universities you transferred from?

The U is different from UPS and Luther because it’s in a big metropolitan area, the campus is huge, the student body is huge, and it’s way more diverse than Luther and UPS.  

In terms of academics: I felt pretty quickly like the academics here are a level up from UPS and Luther because it’s a D1 research school. I was always afraid that at a big research University your professors wouldn’t care about you as much as their research; but it’s been the opposite. Professors here have all been so knowledgeable and welcoming, and I feel super comfortable approaching them. There’s way more of an emphasis on your career versus on just your major here. The U really focuses on developing skills you need for the real world and setting you up to be employed after (or even before) you graduate.

In terms of social life: there’s just a lot more to do because it’s a bigger school in a bigger city. Versus at Luther and UPS I would feel like “everyone’s doing the same thing, so I should be doing that too.” At the U, I feel more freedom to do what I want and not be concerned about the rest of the student body, because there are so many people here doing different things. I don’t blame UPS or Luther for that aspect, it’s more of a personal difference for me.

Do you have any advice for new transfers or people thinking about transferring?

Do it!! Transferring to the U of M was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m super happy here. If you’re thinking about transferring, I would advise taking a tour, shadowing someone in your area of interest for a day to see what it’s like, and schedule an appointment with an advising counselor to talk about your options at the U.

I’d also say do your research. It seems like a pretty simple thing to do, but I found that mapping out exactly what my financial and academic path at the U would be was really key to making me feel good about my decision to transfer. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it in the end to be at a University that you feel is the best fit for you and gets you excited about your future.  

Just for fun

Coffee Order: During holiday season: caramel brulee latte, during not holiday season: vanilla latte.

Favorite Food: Any kind of pasta, Pesto Cavatappi.

Guilty pleasure: Reality TV. It’s so bad but my addiction is so real.  

One thing you can’t live without: My chapstick 

One thing you love about yourself: I’m a leo, so it would have to be that I’m super loyal!!