RU Thankful: Why I’m Grateful I Transferred To Rutgers

My college career has been filled with so many ups and downs I’ve lost count, but honestly, I’m so grateful for every single one of them. College has helped me get in touch with my true self, encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and become an overall stronger person.

For those who don’t know me- I’m from California and my college journey didn’t start at Rutgers. It actually started 3,000 miles away at San Francisco State University. I knew a lot of people there, since many students came from my hometown and its surrounding areas. I knew the city like the back of my hand, and met new people through mutual friends. I was sitting pretty and comfortable in every way possible, but I wasn’t getting the big college experience I always wanted.

There was also a huge on-campus housing crisis- no one could get classes, and the average graduation time went up to six years, not just at SF State, but at most colleges in UC and CSU college system (no thank you). So, I considered Rutgers, since it was both my parents’ alma mater. My friends thought I was crazy for leaving California; and although they were supportive, they urged me to “rethink this strange decision,” (their words not mine lol). Contrary to their advice, I applied February of my freshman year, and the acceptance letter came shortly after that. My transition, however, wasn’t peaches and cream.

If you have traveled anywhere on the West Coast, you’ll agree that it is very different than the East Coast, and I don’t just mean the weather. The overall culture is different as well. My environment was completely different, I felt like an outcast, and knew nobody. It was an extremely lonely feeling. I wasn’t adjusting well to East Coast life, and I isolated myself my entire sophomore year. My grades suffered, my self-esteem took a hit, I cried on the phone to my friends back home, cried myself to sleep and some days I couldn’t even eat. I was completely out of my element. I’m talking culture shock to the extreme. I didn’t tell my parents how bad I was suffering, since we put in so much time, energy and money getting me across the country. I was strongly considering transferring back to a college in California, until my second year.

The summer before my second year, I had a heart-to-heart with a couple family members and friends, letting me know that it was ok to be homesick, but it couldn’t last for the next three to four years. They gave me some tough love and reminded me that I made the decision to leave, no one forced me to go. I couldn’t sulk and waste my valuable college years I needed to spend improving myself and miss the opportunity to make lifelong friends. So my second year at Rutgers, I decided to get off my booty and not waste time feeling sorry for myself. I joined clubs, became more social and made the decision to study abroad for my spring semester, which I wrote about at the beginning of the year.

My third year was where I really grew. I branched out, finally began to focus on my potential career path, and identified where I wanted to be in the next five years. I finally had a game plan, and met some fantastic friends that have really made a difference in my college experience (I also started partying and “socializing” *wink emoji* wayy more, but I’ll save that for another article). Things were finally falling into place and I was much happier, more energetic, and surprisingly, I felt like I was where I needed to be.

As a senior, when I look back at my journey as a whole, I now realize that everything happens for a reason. I needed to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In other words, I needed to learn that being out of your comfort zone isn’t a bad thing. That isn’t to say I’ve been trapped in a bubble growing up, because my parents have raised me to be very open-minded since I was in single digits, but I have never removed myself from everything I knew, until I transferred. Now, I can’t say I’m 100 percent sure that I’ll stay in New Jersey after graduation, but what I can say is that I’ve been changed for the better and will carry the lessons I’ve learned in my college career for the rest of my life.