This time last year, I was researching different colleges and beginning my application process. I wasn’t a senior in high school, I was a freshman in college re-applying to college. I felt like a failure, believing my freshman year was a total bust. Every movie and television show portrays the titular character seamlessly transitioning to college while acting agonizingly happy when they’re dropped off. Not many people are vocal about how difficult a feat it is to suddenly pack up all of your belongings and move away from home—and social media doesn’t make it a whole lot easier to find validation in feelings of sorrow. So if anyone out there is feeling defeated because you don’t like the college you chose, you’re not a failure, you’re actually brave!
Here is why trusting my gut and making the decision to transfer is one of the very best decisions I have ever made:
First off, when I transferred, I got to be closer to home. Imagine attending a college that overlooks the stunning Hudson River with stone buildings resembling castles equipped with a dining hall straight out of a Harry Potter movie and still thinking, “meh, this isn’t for me.” I missed seeing Patriots jerseys on Sundays, saying “wicked” without receiving a second glance, and having the freedom to drive home whenever I wanted. It’s all about the little things in life, you know? For some people, going far for college is the right choice, but it wasn’t for me—and that’s more than okay.
Transferring also opened up a wide variety of networking connections through both institutions. When I see someone from my old college on LinkedIn, I can say that I spent my freshman year there, and I can also connect with someone at my current university. I still make an effort to remember the professors that I loved from my old college, just in case I ever want to reach out someday.
The most important thing I took away from transferring is the realization that I am in full control of the trajectory of my life. No one else is going to make the hard decisions for me. Friends and family can offer their best advice, but no one really knows exactly what you’re going through except for you. People tell you to find the things that you want in life, but what about the importance of recognizing exactly what you don’t want? Well, now I can identify a handful of things that I know won’t outweigh the negatives for me (a Hogwarts look-alike dining hall is one of those things). Transferring taught me that I harbor full control when it comes to the things in life that I can change and how to shape my experiences based on what I’ve learned I don’t desire.
If you’re thinking of transferring, take this as a sign to listen to your gut. I know exactly how hard this process is and how lonely it can make you feel, but you’re not alone! You’ve got this. Oh, also, go UMass!