UCI From a Transfer's POV

Being a transfer can be scary. You go from one school to the next, hoping that it’s the right fit. For some transfers like me, it can even be the third school that you’ve studied at. The pressure to make it a positive experience can be a lot and there’s a lot of temptation to see things in black and white. I’m starting to accept that it’s normal to have up’s and down’s (particularly from week 5-7 aka midterms) while at UCI.

Right now, I no longer feel like a new student at UCI. I’ve got my 'Peter the Anteater' sticker on the back of my phone case and I know my go-to study spots on campus. I’m running into new and old faces around campus nearly every day. This is only my second quarter at UCI but I feel like time is going by quickly. Making the most of my two years at UCI, I want to appreciate each new thing and new connection.

But my first couple weeks at UCI definitely weren’t perfect. I had a stereotypical nightmare roommate situation that caused a lot of anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, my first impression of UCI came from that experience and I worried for days that I had picked a school full of weirdos. I had trouble adjusting to the culture of my community college to the more introverted one I found at UCI. My first impressions of UCI included the antisocial and somewhat socially awkward reputation. It’s possible that my pre-established love of boba was the only thing connecting me to other students that first month. I wasn’t a wide-eyed freshman completely new to college life but many procedures and norms felt completely unfamiliar to me at first, like lecture halls of 300 people or taking the Anteater Express every day.

But UCI was my final choice in getting my degree from so I wanted to keep an open mind. And staying open-minded paid off. I learned from the nightmare roommate situation. Some of the people I didn’t have the best impressions from in my first couple weeks ended up being my favorite people by the quarter’s end. My view of UCI students being timid or socially awkward slowly morphed into something more nuanced--there were certainly weird students here and there but after talking to more people, I realized they weren’t the majority. Becoming more involved in campus organizations led me to meet a wide variety of people. Sometimes, people do tend to fall into the stereotypes of their majors. I’ve met extroverted and ambitious Business Economics majors, buoyant and bubbly Drama majors and shy Math majors but there are always exceptions and unique details in their personalities.

Image from Ingrid Allen

Half of the students in Film-Art-Drama Alliance are transfers.

Some of my favorite people that I’ve met have been other transfers. Finding out someone is also a transfer brings about an immediate connection for the most part. Sharing “war stories” of college bureaucracy and the process of transferring from unsatisfying schools bonds us pretty quickly. I’ve found that transfers end up being some of the most proactive students in clubs and student life too, taking advantage of all the resources at UCI. I’ve played tennis, wrote a screenplay and attended workshops on the stock market--all because of UCI students’ organization and motivation. I’ve zeroed in on a number of clubs (out of the 400 that UCI offers) suit my interests, including Her Campus.

Transfers also have a lot of unique struggles--from money issues to being an older undergrad--that some people dismiss or stigmatize. But at the end of the day, I’m proud to be a transfer. I find that transfers have a ton of interesting life experience and knowledge that sets them apart. And as our student loan debt crisis remains unchanging, I think transferring will become more and more common. The experience of transferring has taught me a lot and at the end of the day, I feel so lucky to be at UCI. Zot zot!