No one goes into college expecting to be a transfer student. I definitely didn’t. I had a whole plan laid out: I’d go to a big university in a big city and I’d spend my twenties walking between my apartment and coffee shops. I did everything in my power to make that dream come true. I only applied to colleges in the city and I got my parents on board to let me move there as long as I had pepper spray on hand (small town parents tend to be paranoid about cities).
I was set up to live my dream perfectly, except when I actually got there, something felt off. The city wasn’t feeling like home, coffee shops charge ten dollars for an oat milk latte, and I learned that public transportation is a lot more exhausting than I thought. With no car, a broken dream, and a lot of pent up confusion and anxiety, I decided in the first semester of my junior year to transfer schools.
It’s scary to come to the conclusion to transfer schools so late in your college career. You’re leaving the place that you thought would be your perfect fit, and there’s a lot of emotions that follow that. I was upset that I wouldn’t be able to graduate with the friends I made at my old school. I was worried that I wouldn’t make new friends and I wasn’t prepared for a new campus. I was embarrassed that people I knew would think I was a failure for transferring.
Anyone that has transferred schools before is familiar with this thinking. There’s a tango between the part of you that knows that transferring would be good for you, but also with the part that is anxious with the ‘what ifs.’ Your friends and family will offer you advice, but oftentimes they leave the decision up to you and you’re forced to decide who will lead the dance. That’s a lot of pressure on someone’s back while they’re trying to finish their semester, balance their social life, and scrounge together a potential living situation at the new school.
Although the decision was stressful and the process was lengthy, the real struggle has come now that I have transferred. Meeting people in the spring semester as an off-campus transfer student is chalking up to be just as difficult as I imagined. As third-year students, most people already have their group of friends and daily rituals that they’re used to. I’m new to the area and the campus, and though people are kind enough to talk to me in class, I’ve yet to find someone that’s looking for a new addition to their regimented group. I never would’ve thought that I’d have an easier time making my way through the campus than making friends.
Sometimes I sit in my apartment and question my decision to transfer. I wish that I were back in the city with my old roommates and best friends, but then I will walk through campus and drive my car to Trader Joe’s and love the newfound independence. I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, there was no completely right or wrong answer. There were pros and cons to transferring or staying put, and I need to let things play out how they will. I’m at peace with my decision and I trust that my path will lay out for me. I will make friends and acclimate in my own time and I cannot rush the process.
If you’ve transferred somewhere or you’re considering transferring, don’t let my hardship with finding friends deter you. Everyone has their own reasons and needs to leave their previous school, and the path is different for everyone. I’ve only been here for a month, and I’m still in the early days of my journey. I love my new school and I know that it’s the right fit for me. I don’t regret my decision to transfer, and I’m excited about what’s to come in the future.
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