I’m a transfer student, a sophomore in a brand new school, just the way a first year me entered my last school. A year ago. The transfer application process itself was the easy part – much less stressful the second time around, I’d already done this part!
The harder part: entering and adjusting to a new school where everyone knows each other and have tight friend groups.
As the last week of my summer crept closer and closer just one short month ago, I found myself wishing someone had written a manual on what happens after you know where you’re transferring. So: this one’s for all you transfer students out there.
1. Be friendly
I can’t stress this one enough. Not just with students in your grade, but with professors, faculty and staff, first years who you’re likely to be lumped into an orientation with, upperclassmen, and even your RA. Friends in college are absolutely key to making these some of the best years of your life, and good relationships with your professors and other people around you make your new environment a much more pleasant one.
2. Be bold and persistent
It is uncomfortable inserting yourself into new situations which you’re not sure people are ready to welcome you into. But, more often than not, it will end well AND with a new friend. This isn’t first year orientation where everyone is trying to make friends with anything that moves. But, if you make it your goal to make new friends wherever you go, you will not be let down. Don’t be hesitant to invite new people to hang out just because they haven’t invited you first, and don’t be afraid to participate in conversations! It’s never too late to make new friends, it’s your own effort that goes a long way.
3. Rely on old friends and family, too
Having a support system or just someone who has known you well to talk to about your new experiences and worries can help a lot, especially in the beginning when you may feel a bit alone. They can provide perspective and encouragement in a time when you’ll need a lot of both. Being realistic right now may be hard, but those people you trust can set you straight. Also: remember not to isolate yourself, even if it seems easier.
4. Get involved in new and old interests
Clubs were the first thing I looked into when I got to school. Find out if there’s a club fair or a website where you can sign up. Don’t be afraid to try something new: join the radio station, write for the newspaper! If you’re into sports but weren’t recruited for one, look for tryouts or club teams/intramurals, teams can provide immediate friendships. Even on campus jobs can provide time to meet new people and connect with new friends.
5. Take a tour before you start school
I failed to do this one, but definitely wish I had. Even at a small school, a quick tour of the buildings, at least, helps with your orientation of this new place you call home. Especially when you’re thinking about a million other things. Also, if it’s a possibility for you, bringing your own car can be very liberating and helpful to explore this new place.
Remember to balance your education, class time, and school work with your extracurriculars or downtime. Classes are important, but so is bonding with new friends and fostering your other passions – make sure you make time for those too (it’ll keep you sane).
7. Don’t give up
The beginning can look bleak in sea of people you don’t know and many you may not necessarily connect with, and your classes may not speak to you the way you thought they would, and it’s possible that you don’t love the area. But: keep looking for your people, persevere with your classes, talk to your professors – don’t forget about add/drop periods if necessary – and keep exploring. It can only, and will only, get better.
http://4000footers.com/camelshump.shtml – camels hump photo
http://lolzpicx.tumblr.com/post/36731369412#.WdRwZq2ZPR0 – the office photo