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What I’ve Learned in the Year Since I’ve Transferred Universities

In high school, there was a lot of talk about wanting to go to the best college out there and there are always schools with a prestigious reputation. I spent my years doing the most I could so that I could get into my dream school and in the end, I ended up getting into that school. The moment I found out that I was accepted, I screamed and cried and found out that none of my close friends got in. Through everything at that time, it was the greatest accomplishment of my life.

It turned out that I actually hated that school six months later. With a lot of thinking, thinking and overthinking, I decided to transfer from my dream school and to the University of Central Florida for spring 2019. By reputation, UCF isn’t as prestigious as my dream school and as somebody who wants to go to medical school after my undergrad, I was terrified that I was downgrading and I would regret transferring. It’s been a year and there’s not a single drop of regret in me. 

Now that it’s spring 2020, I’ve officially spent an entire year at UCF and if there is one thing I’ve learned through everything, it’s that you can’t be scared to find what makes you happy. Transferring definitely comes with adjustment and accepting that not every place that you go to is going to be completely perfect ⁠— well, that and the fact that college is always going to be insane. 

College is just four quick years (for most of us). Then, it becomes time for adulthood so it’s something that you have to appreciate and make the most out of. Just sitting in libraries, study areas or doing mundane academic things make me appreciative of the fact that I actually have an opportunity to be able to study and pick where I go. There are times when I think about how that one chair in my dream school was comfier than the one in my favorite study room at UCF but the grass is still greener on the side I choose to be.

It doesn’t matter how fancy a school may sound, but what does matter is that the school that you go to cares about you and wants to watch you succeed. There’s a bucket load of resources at UCF’s disposal and there are always people reaching out to students with office hours, tutoring and more. It’s very comforting to see the plethora of support to get here when comparing it to a place that shrugs when you reach out because you were smart enough to get in so you should be smart enough to figure it out on your own. 

There’s a big fear of “Transfer Shock,” or the phenomenon that happens when students transfer schools and experience a drop in grades, performance and engagement in their studies. In my experience, because I actually was happy with the university I was going to, I felt myself do better as I came to campus to use the resources that it has to offer. Transfer Shock is definitely something that may be a struggle for some students but it is something that can be overcome and will become worth it in the long run. Besides, things are going to be tough but that’s normal ⁠— that’s why when someone shows up to a final in a robe, I think “Wow, me too.”

Spring is a time for new beginnings with the hope that things get better and smoother for everyone. Having decided to transfer from my dream school to UCF in October of the fall semester, the first time I stepped on campus after months of waiting felt like I had finally made it home to where I always meant to be. Long story short, if you feel like the school you’re going to isn’t right, do something! Don’t be scared to make any campus yours and get out of your comfort zone to find something that makes you happy.

Images: 1, 2, 3

Steph is in her third year studying biomedical science and neuropsychology at the University of Central Florida. She is very much into going to the theme parks in Orlando and spends her day loving dogs and hyping over Harry Potter. When she's not writing, she's dying over MCAT prep, volunteering, research, or binge watching the latest Netflix show. Instagram: @stephaaniejimenez
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