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An Ode to Transfer Students: Doing It All Over Again

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

When you were writing your CommonApp essays, compiling your test scores, and binging “COLLEGE DECISION REACTIONS 2020!!!” YouTube videos, you probably sighed and said, “Thank god I don’t have to do this again.” Then you had to do it again. 

Your freshman year of college was spent coldly, accompanied kindly by the black mold growing on the ceiling of your dorm room. Your roommate was at her 8:30am 4-hour-long chemistry lab, made bearable by her circle of equally happy and peppy friends. You had tried to be like them – happy, peppy – but after one too many nights of you turning down wine-drunkenly making brownies to call your friends from home, they began to drift away. Eventually, it was just you and the mold on the ceiling and the mold in your shower caddy struggling to write a lab report.

 The struggle lay within your lack of working equipment, your lack of workable data, and lack of funds to the science department. The football team that hadn’t won a title since 1929 needed it more anyway. From the second week of school, you knew you needed to get out. 

Your days were spent wandering the city, dreading making the trek back to campus. As soon as you stepped through the iron gates, lead boots would be strapped to your feet. The biggest and gray-est of rain clouds would follow you back to your dorm and linger, pouring over your head and soaking your fraying bedsheets. Come January, transfer applications opened and the end was within reach. But you had to do it all over again. 

“Why us?” essays, once again. “We want to know who you are, not just your test scores,” once again. Filling out the FAFSA, once again. Waiting and praying, once again. Unfortunately for you, there was no Candyland map of steps or high school college counselor telling you what to do next. You didn’t realize how many complicated forms you had to compile and submit yourself. You’re weren’t even completely sure if you actually officially withdrew from your old school. 

And you found out they don’t do the confetti for submitting transfer applications on the Commonapp. 

Then, while you were pouring over calculus notes for your final the next day, you got an email. You slowly drag your mouse and clicked open the portal, shakily typed in your login, and a screen blared in front of you: “The wait is over… you’re in!” You were getting out. You were finally escaping and leaving behind the mold that lived on the ceiling and in your shower caddy and that snaked down the walls (maintenance never really fixed the mold problem). 

And you started crying in the middle of the library, slicing through the thick silence of finals week. 

Your summer was spent doing all of those orientation things you hoped you’d never have to do again. Registering for classes with all of the new freshmen, where you get stuck with the 8am classes and 6pm labs. Clicking through the alcohol education course that tells you the average college student is the holiest of saints whose lips dare not touch alcohol. reading a repetition of last year. 

This time, you’re not crammed into one bathroom with 40 people in the same boat. You’re not able to bond over the weird gap between your twin XL bed frame and the wall, or the person that keeps pooping in the showers. Meeting people and making friends is totally up to you. And you have to try even harder than last year. 

When your friends from home go back to their schools that they never wanted to leave in the first place, you wonder if you’ll ever be as happy as them. 

Suddenly, you’re moving into your new apartment that is much farther from your classes than Google Maps said it would be. Once again, you’re getting lost in this monster of a campus that could swallow your old school like a fun-sized candy bar. You’ve shown up to the wrong classroom for 4 out of 5 of your classes and have had to stumble into the right one, very late and sweating through your backpack straps. You’re wearing through your shoes in the first week having to walk 30 minutes each way to class. 

But this time seems different. 

When the bottom of your Trader Joe’s bag broke open in the rain, multiple people stopped and helped you gather up your excessive number of pumpkin spice-themed foods. You lugged home your waterlogged mini pumpkin samosas, smiling. 

Someone with perfectly curled purple hair and an ornate septum piercing in your anthropology class asked if you were from Seattle. They had grown up with one of your best friends from home and told you to text them if you ever wanted to study together. Of course, you did. 

You walked out of your first computer science class with the major change form already filled out and “woman in STEM” scribbled out on your list of things to brag about. You reluctantly sat down anyway to try one of the homework problems. You wrote and rewrote the code, crossing your fingers and pressing “run” for the hundredth unsuccessful time. Finally, after six hours writing 12 lines of code, the numbers lit up green at the bottom of the console. 

Although you set off the smoke alarm your first morning in your new place (twice) and made a few too many sarcastic jokes that didn’t quite land, you’re starting to figure things out again. At least this year you’re not crammed in a double that’s meant to be a single.

Ava Knight

Northeastern '25

Data science and behavioral neuroscience major from Seattle, WA, loves running, cooking, and true crime!