Four Things I Wish I Knew Before Transferring

Although as a senior in high school I was really looking forward to going off to a four-year school, starting at community college and then transferring to Davis was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I didn’t get into my top schools, and I didn’t see the point of wasting money at a school that I wasn’t completely set on. Instead, I got to complete all of my GE requirements in a low-cost environment, decide what I really wanted to major in, and am going to graduate from college debt-free. Even though this was a great choice, there are still some things that I wished I would have known before going into it. If you’re thinking about transferring, here are some things to consider. 

1) You’ll feel like a freshman again

I expected to have an initial adjustment period as I was getting used to Davis’ campus and living on my own, but it was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be. It took me quite a while to feel like I was comfortable on campus, and I was constantly having to pull out Google Maps on my phone if I had to go to a different building. What’s more, though, is that I had already gone through the freshman feeling at my previous campus. I’d already dealt with not knowing where things were, feeling lost, and panicking about making it to class on time because I had no idea where a certain lecture hall or room was. However, this period of awkwardness eventually subsided as the quarters passed and I spent more time on campus. 

2) You might also feel like you missed out on “freshman” things

I wasn’t particularly sad about not living in the dorms, as I knew they wouldn’t have been a good environment for me. I had friends at my previous school, and I was able to spend more time with my family as I was still living with them, so I didn’t really feel like I was missing out on anything. However, that changed once I transferred. It might sound silly, but part of me can’t help but feel a little left out when I hear my friends talk about their time living in the dorms. I sometimes find myself wishing that I could relate to their experiences and share stories about the dorms. However, my own experience as a transfer is unique, and whenever I feel bad about this, I have to remind myself of how much I accomplished, and all of the amazing people that I met during my two years of community college. Just because your college experience is nontraditional doesn’t mean that you missed out on anything.  

3) Try to be as involved as possible

Although campus organizations can feel like more work, they are actually a great way to help create a work-life balance by making sure that your life isn’t all school, all the time. For example, even though last spring quarter was probably my hardest class-wise so far, I think I felt the least stressed because I had non-school things to help manage my stress. They can also make you more excited about going back to school after a break. For example, I’m just starting my last year of college, and I know that I have a pretty heavy workload set out for me across the next few quarters. But knowing that I’m part of a few organizations that I really care about makes me feel so much more excited and less stressed for the coming year. 

4) A new place won’t fix all your problems

I always thought that going to a new, bigger school would help me immediately fix a lot of my problems. I would come to a new school and instantly start going way out of my comfort zone, growing a bigger social circle, and becoming more confident. In reality, going to a new campus didn’t solve anything. In fact, it sort of worked the opposite way, bringing a lot of my insecurities to the surface and forcing me to deal with them. At times, I felt so far out of my comfort zone that I didn’t know what to do to make myself grounded, but ultimately these feelings helped me mature and become more certain of myself. It’s exciting to be in a new place, but it won’t serve as a quick fix for all your problems. 

Although there might be some things that I feel like I missed out on because I transferred, I wouldn’t change anything if I could go back. My college experience is unique to me, and it’s okay if it’s not super traditional. Any way you go about getting a degree is valid, and there are positive and negative sides to traditional and non-traditional routes.