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Confessions of a Transfer Student

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Scranton chapter.

As the new school year starts, I want you to evaluate your current mindset and expectations for the year then, respectfully, erase those ideas from your memory bank. Let’s not have expectations. Let me tell you why.

Not only have I transferred colleges once, but I’ve transferred twice, making my grand total of universities a whopping three and establishing my credibility to speak upon failed expectations. Wow, that sounds dark, but I promise you this article has a happy ending. Anyway, all my credentials amount to loads of experience with the College Board (ugh) and multiple practiced variations of, “Hi, I’m Emma. I’m new here.” That being said, I logically presume your wondering, why did I transfer to two different schools? What the heck happened? All right, I’ll tell you.

Long story short I was simply not ~happy~. It was this mantra of refusing to settle that motivated me to undergo massive changes in only a span of months. I’m sorry if this is all beginning to sound sappy, but those months were a journey to find ~happiness~ and that is the self-appointed theme of this article. Now, I could continue with all the dramatics but here are the SparkNotes. I spent my first year at a university that felt like wearing a pair of shoes three sizes too big- I was wildly out of my league and equally overwhelmed. I had dreamt of the classic college experience but with COVID-19 and a university that didn’t match my personality, I knew my second year had to look different. So, I took a leap of faith and left the friends I made, swapping the comforting discomfort for the utter unknown.

I decided to try a completely different type of college life, a pure commuter school. A place that I had hoped was small in size but big in community. Starting anew in the fall, my expectations felt limitless like the view streaming from my car window as I raced down the I-495. Only that fantasy view quickly brewed clouds that rained with harsh reality. The campus was no frat party buzzing with life. Rather, the campus was a quiet sequestered place with the only buzz stemming from someone’s cellphone which could be heard from every corner of the tiny library. I felt alone. No one was looking to talk. The sole focus was to join the mad

dash to start your car. It was like leaving was a race with beating traffic and conversation the grand prize. Don’t get me wrong, the few people I befriended were unique and lovely. Everyone there had a story. One worked two jobs. Another was a volunteer fire fighter whose tale of last night’s adventures made the 9am literature lecture especially dull. But I had nothing to say or share that didn’t make me feel like I sorely stuck out. I couldn’t connect. So, with a crumpled confidence and a completed semester, I knew I needed to leave, again.

It was a gutting choice that made me question if I made the wrong decision leaving my initial university in the first place. I didn’t really like it but at least I felt like I earned my spot by starting out day one with everyone else. I didn’t know if I had the courage to squeeze my way into another delicate social system. I started to go into a spiral of doubts wondering if my friends who were in disbelief by my decision to transfer were right after all. Maybe settling would have been better than being the girl who transferred twice? But I knew the feeling in my bones. I couldn’t go back to where I started, and I couldn’t stay where I was. So, I said goodbye and left for the University of Scranton.

(Hi, so that’s how I’m writing to you now.) With a family of past Royals, I crossed my fingers, dusted off my dorm essentials, and drove up early for an Intersession class praying for luck. Being convinced the label “new girl” would forever be my title, I was terrified. But I sucked it up and slowly grew in confidence as January melted into the spring semester. To my surprise and relief, everyone I met was nice and happy to talk with the new and slightly lost girl. It made all the tears and frustration worth it. I was finally ~happy~. Many of my hometown friends still can’t believe I transferred not once, but twice. Many of them aren’t happy themselves but would never fathom actually leaving or admitting their sadness out loud. It takes nerve and a willingness to get shaken up. But if I can do it, so can you.

That being said, going into this new year here’s my advice to you. Have no expectations. Give everything you want your best shot. Be fearless. If you want to make friends, try your best to make friends. If you want that A, come up with a plan to work for it. If all your efforts fail, then readjust. Don’t have a picture of success but celebrate it when it comes. We have no idea what the future holds, I surely never thought my path would look like this, but I promise you, owning your story and seeking ~happiness~ will be the most enriching experience in the end. Keep the goal for ~happiness~ and mental peace a priority. If you do that, whether you apply my advice to what university you’ll read this article from or to life in general, I promise you it will be a great year. Just maybe not the one you expected.

Emma Graff

Scranton '24

Emma Graff is a junior English and Public Relations double major. She shares the Events Coordinator position for the Her Campus Scranton chapter. Her passions include poetry, fashion, and finding the best coffee places around. She hopes that her articles spark confidence and joy within her readers.