Reflection On One Year of Being a Transfer

At the beginning of my transfer journey, I wrote an article about my experience transferring during my first fall semester at Rutgers. A lot has changed since I wrote that article. I have had many hardships and successes. I can confidently say that I couldn’t possibly be happier anywhere else. This article, while about my first year experience as a transfer student, also will contain advice to any other transfer students out there, or anyone considering transferring. Trust me, if you aren’t happy, then you are probably in the wrong place.

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Back in the beginning of my sophomore year, I had a lot of anxiety and fear. All of my friends who had gone away to their colleges had fallen in love with their schools and here I was, transferring to a school that was four times to the size of my previous institution, Montclair State University. When I first arrived at Rutgers, I felt so alone. Transferring to a new school makes it pretty hard to make friends. You encounter people who have friendships that have been established two to three years prior to you even transferring. Needless to say, when I got to Rutgers, the first few weeks were pretty hard.

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After those first few weeks passed, I became friendly with the people on my floor of my dorm and thank god I did! I was able to open up and make friends pretty quickly once that happened. The third week of school I even went to an Ed Sheeran concert with one of my friends! Socially things only went up from there! I joined Her Campus, a comedy troupe called the College Avenue Players, and began to build strong friendships from there. Socially, I was much happier than I had been at my previous school.

A piece of advice I want give to anyone who is transferring - put yourself out there. Everyone that has transferred has felt the exact same way you do. Don’t think something’s wrong with you! Join as many clubs as you can, then weed out the ones you feel really fit who you are. Rutgers and many other institutions have Transfer Center Departments. At these departments there often transfer students working there, along with Transfer Center Deans who are great resources to make you feel at home. You can definitely go to them with any concerns you may have or any advice you may need. There will always be someone there for you, sometimes you just need to search a little bit.

Social issues are not the only struggles you will face as a transfer student. There is a concept called “Transfer Shock”. This terrifying concept basically means, when you transfer to a new institution your GPA is likely to drop due to the shift in academic rigor. When I transferred to Rutgers, I had been warned of the infamous “Transfer Shock”, so I had been extra cautious with my academics. I immediately noticed a difference in academic workload than my previous school; both amount wise and difficulty level. I was staying up later, dedicating more hours to homework, and attending more study sessions. During my first semester, I even had to drop a class! I was really upset and had felt as if I had failed. The class I dropped had been Astronomy, and I’m a History major who can’t do math or physics to save my life and by dropping that class I realized that! I made up the credits elsewhere. I took a winter class and I am now enrolled in a summer class. Everything has a way of working itself out.

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Academically, you will face some challenges, but don’t let that discourage you. Attending your professor’s and TA’s office hours will be a life saver! Once you mention that you are a transfer student, they sympathize with you immediately, because they know what you are going through. Again, do not give up. Be sure to reach out to classmates for help if going to a professor is too intimidating. However, you may go about your academics, just know everything will be alright and all you need to do is push through your first semester and things will be much better.

Reflecting back, I realize that I accomplished so much. I am very proud of all I have one during my first year at Rutgers. A few of my accomplishments include: becoming a spinning instructor, a Transfer Mentor, and a Peer Influencer. I worked hard and kept my academics strong and I was inducted into Tau Sigma, the Transfer Honor Society! These are just a few of the many things that I accomplished, but trust me, they did not come easy, but are some of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Remember, all of us transfer students endure the same anxieties, nerves, and fears. In order to be successful, you must remain positive. Positivity is the key to success when transferring. I’m so happy that I transferred and reflecting back, it is clear to see I made the right choice. To anyone who considers transferring or is in fact a transfer student, just remember you are not alone and you can persevere through anything!

All photos provided by Kate Dobbs unless otherwise specified.