Finding Where You Belong: The Story of a Transfer Student

Truthfully, the transition from high school to college can be so exhilarating, exciting, and overwhelming… once you start your classes. Welcome to the real world: where your GPA is just a number, but you still have to pass all of your classes to get that signed piece of paper that says you made it.

 I’ll paint you a picture to start off: Freshman year, I move into a private university where the biggest class size was approximately 40 students… and that’s for an entire lecture hall. Seemingly, this university was hopefully going to make me feel like I’m at home, and where I belong and fit in. It’s private, I live in an all-girl communal dorm, and I can do my laundry, cook, and interact with girls from all over the building since the campus is so small; because of this, it’s easier to get to know people, and I see them all over campus constantly.

Professors also get to know you on a more personal level, which is a plus. Since class sizes are so small, they’ll know you by your first name, and say hello to you walking around campus. There are places to hang hammocks, a beautiful fountain, and courtyard to do homework in, a more private area in a coffee house and a library to get that late night studying in. Everything seems so wonderful. What could go wrong? Moving away from home and being on my own. It’s finally happening and I’m so excited!

Another plus was making the college cheerleading team, and I received a scholarship to represent my university at football, basketball and volleyball games. There’s no way that I wouldn’t make friends. I had a roommate who I’d been talking to since January when I committed to this university, and we were both so excited to be roommates in the Fall semester and to decorate our room. We had so many fantastic ideas, and we were both so creative. I had a friend, and I was gonna meet a ton more girls on the cheer team. I’d become social and finally, come out of my shell that protected me in high school. New school, new reputation, new fresh start.

Fast-forward to mid-semester in the Fall, approximately September-October. Cheerleading isn’t what it was brought up to be. The level of difficulty was underneath what I was capable of, having come out of a competitive gymnastics & competitive cheerleading background. It seemed more like a high school cheer team. Less fun, and there wasn’t much to show off to the crowd. My coach limited us and didn’t let the entire team do a stunt if the entire team wasn’t capable. There was also more than just 1 team: a competitive and a sideline cheerleading team. The competitive team got more attention, they traveled, got new uniforms, and cool backpacks/bows/outfits and jackets to use while we got sling backpacks and old poms to cheer with, and 1 new bow per person. This wasn’t fair or fun at all.

My roommate kept the fact from me that she was moving back home to Massachusetts. She wasn’t in good medical condition, after moving all the way down here to Florida and not having healed from surgeries past. Aside from being lied to, and not told that I was losing my roommate who I thought was becoming one of my best friends, I had a girl texting me telling me she was going to move into my room from one door down. I wasn’t comfortable with someone else moving into my room forcibly that I’d never met, and since I was still sort of an introvert - since it was so early on in the semester - I hadn’t come out of my little shell yet. The only people that I knew best were my cheer coach and my cheer team. And that turned out to be a bust in the end anyway. But I made a friend over the time that I had my first roommate, and this friend wasn’t super close with her current roommate of the time, so she moved downstairs to my room. She became, and still is, my best friend for life.

 Spring semester, my best friend and roommate AND flyer on the cheerleading team was gone. She transferred out because she didn’t feel like she fit in, it was too expensive, and the cheerleading team was nothing like her and I expected. I had a 3rd roommate move in. I became acquaintances with her, but she had another best friend already, so I had to force myself to make friends with the rest of the girls down my hall that I used to find annoying, since the walls and doors were so thin and they’d be so loud when I was trying to sleep or do homework. Luckily, I was able to make some friends to get me through the Spring semester. By this time, I had quit the cheerleading team. It wasn’t for me, I felt very secluded and not paid attention to by my coach since she coached 2 teams that year. I gained another best friend again, but for a short time. After being taken advantage of the entire semester - gas, mostly, and not getting any gas money for driving back and forth to the airport to drop her off/pick her up, to the theme parks, etc. the money really added up that I was using that, in reality, I didn’t have. I wasted a ton of gas and sacrificed studying time to be with her and to “have fun” all of the time; but all at a cost. On the very last night that I was at that university before taking my final exams and moving back home for the summer, I tried to reason with her about how much I felt taken advantage of. Alas, I lost a friend, and never regained that friendship. It got left behind.

 As for the other friends I made, one followed me away from that university for the same reasons that I had. It was too expensive, it being a private school, and I wasn’t in a sorority, in any clubs or on any intramural teams. It wasn’t my home, and I wish I had that figured out sooner rather than later.

Over the summer of 2017, I got into UCF. I ended up commuting for the entire Fall semester and ended up changing from a Business Major that I was at the private university to a Biology major with a Pre-Veterinarian track and a Psychology minor. But this Spring semester, I have now moved onto campus, joined Her Campus, and have found where I truly belong. I’ve made some friends (some from Fall semester, even more in the Spring so far), and have found the PERFECT club for me. Writing about my experiences, stories, etc.? Why the heck not? I’ve already made a family out of the girls that I’ve met, and can’t wait to grow closer to them throughout this semester. Moving to UCF was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. When I toured UCF in my sophomore year of high school, I knew this is where I wanted to be. I told myself when I got to college, I’d go to UCF. I even got in when I applied as a senior in high school! I wish I hadn’t turned it down for a beautiful, private campus that I didn’t fit into in the first place… but the important part is that I’m here now. My friend that followed me away from our private university now lives 10 minutes from me, is attending Valencia College and will be at UCF in the Fall of 2018. I feel more comfortable than I ever have been and UCF makes me so happy; especially Her Campus. I’ve found my home. And I hope that after reading this, you will too if you haven’t already.