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5 Tips for the Awkward Transfer Student

So, you’ve worked your butt off to get that GPA, completed those dreadful UC applications, and now finally you’re here. Welcome to your new life as a Gaucho! UCSB has an amazing campus at the most breathtaking location. The beach is practically within an arm’s reach.

You’ve probably been hearing all about the perks of being at UCSB or in Isla Vista. But, if you’re anything like me, you might be feeling anxious, nervous, excited, and weary all at the same time. Whether you transferred from a community college or from another university, UCSB definitely has some quirks that take some getting used to. Those quirks combined with your nerves can easily make you feel awkward and uncomfortable in your own skin. These five tips will help you feel not only like a true Gaucho, but like you can truly enjoy all that this gorgeous place has to offer you.

1. Remember, everything you are feeling is valid.

It is totally normal to feel like you don’t belong when you’re in a strange place. It can seem like everyone knows each other except you. It’s okay to be anxious or uncomfortable when you are walking through campus. No one enjoys feeling that way but you have to remember that it is normal to feel out of place when you’re in a strange land. Those nerves will subside and eventually, you’ll be walking through campus like a pro before you know it.

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2. You are not the only one.

I always thought that I was the only one that felt the way I did walking through campus. Neither my roommate or housemate from last year were transfer students so they were already super well-versed with anything campus or IV related that I almost felt ashamed for feeling so lost. But, this year I have 3 roommates (yes, I do live in a quad and I actually love it), and all of us are transfer students. And guess what? THEY ALL FELT THE SAME WAY! I cannot describe how relieved I felt when I realized that others felt the same. So remember, you are not alone because all the transfer students are going through the exact same thing.

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3. Make friends.

Everyone hears about the lifelong friendships that can be formed in college but as a transfer student, it seems difficult to break out of your shell. I am definitely not an outgoing person that can just talk to anyone and everyone. However, I remember being in my class last year and just putting in a bit of effort to talk to the girl sitting next to me. We slowly became friends as the weeks passed and she ended up being one of the sweetest and sincere friends I have today. Putting yourself out there will be worth it in the end. You never know who might be that friend that ends up being your maid of honor!

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4. Join Clubs or Organizations

I know that everything feels strange, so having to spend more time on campus to attend organization fairs seems out of the question. But, clubs and organizations are meant to bring people together that have some sort of common quality. It can either be a shared interest, such as a sport, or a shared goal, like your future profession. Clubs and organizations on campus can help form friendships with other members and provide resources and connections that just might help you land that dream job.

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5. Enjoy your alone time.

This can either be getting snuggly in bed with a great book and a warm cup of hot cocoa or heading to the beach to lay out and enjoy the sun. It is always important to remember to give yourself a mental reset every once in a while. Adjusting to the fast paced quarter system can be tough for those of us who have been accustomed to the semester system. Sometimes, it can feel impossible to have time to relax when you feel like you are drowning in papers and readings. Despite that, give yourself time to recoup from the stress and pressures of school, work, social life, or life in general. The time you spend on yourself can be used to help familiarize yourself with IV or campus, to take a nice stroll on the beach, or to enjoy the sunset at one of the many parks along Del Playa. As you start establishing relaxing memories throughout town, you’ll find that this strange place is not so strange anymore. The fear will subside and you’ll learn to fall in love with IV and really bask in your amazing accomplishment of transferring to UCSB.

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Despite the strong prevalence of "senioritis", Sharon is excited to be living with her current roommates and enjoying her last year in Isla Vista. She is thrilled to be graduating a quarter earlier than expected with a BA in Communication. She hopes to pursue a career related to mass media or the entertainment industry, however, she remains open to any and all possibilities (even law school). Having been a transfer student from SMC and having a tough living situation from last year, Sharon is looking forward to finally having a year to really enjoy the beauty of Isla Vista before leaving. So feel free to reach out to talk about less than ideal living situations, Communication related topics, the hidden gems of IV, or just about anything!
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