Senior Year as a Transfer Student  

Last year at UCSB was my first year at UCSB and now this year is my last year at UCSB. Crazy, right? That’s what it’s like being a transfer student. You go to a community college for two to three years, then apply to a four-year, and before you know it that first year is already over and you realize how little time you have left. People who come in as freshman are here for four whole years, but as transfers we only get to experience two of those years.  

Yes, I’m technically a senior now, but do I feel like one? Not really. I feel like I’m just beginning this journey at UCSB, but in reality it’s coming to an end frighteningly soon. I don’t feel like I’m ready for what comes next (although who ever does, really?). There’s an immense pressure now to make the most of this year, and to spend enough time with friends while also figuring out our fast approaching futures. My friend Kyrie, a fellow senior transfer, told me “I feel like I didn’t have enough time here” while my other friend Lauren says she “feels like a sophomore” because it’s technically only our second year here. These are pretty popular opinions among us transfers. Don’t get me wrong, deciding to go to community college before transferring was a really smart decision I made. I wouldn’t have been ready straight out of high school, for a multitude of reasons. The only reason I’m able to attend UCSB is because I attended Cabrillo College first. It gave me time to figure out what I wanted to study and I was able to boost my grades and GPA tremendously. I didn’t do well in high school, so there’s no chance a university like UCSB would’ve accepted me right away. This was the right path for me, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t come with its challenges.  

Image via Unsplash 

I spent my first year as a junior transfer trying to get into my major, struggling a lot, and then ultimately not getting in. This basically wasted the majority of my first year and I felt pretty discouraged. It feels unfair to me that I spent three years getting an Associates Degree in Communications, but then I wasn’t able to continue in that major after transferring because of a highly competitive system. So, that whole ordeal more or less set me back a year. I decided to switch to Sociology, and only just petitioned for that major a week ago. I wasn’t able to sign up for upper division Sociology classes until I petitioned, so I can’t truly begin my major until winter quarter of my senior year. I won’t be graduating on time unless I take 5 or more classes a quarter which is nearly impossible unless you’re a super-student. However, I do have the option of walking in the graduation ceremony along with my friends; I just won’t officially graduate until I’ve completed all my units. The bright side of this is that I’m going to take advantage of studying abroad while I still can, most likely in the fall of next year.  

I think as the years have gone by and I’ve experienced what life in college is truly like, the idea of spending four years at a university and graduating on time with your diploma seems less and less like the “ideal” goal to reach. Everyone is experiencing something different. We’re all going in different directions at different paces and some people are farther ahead than others (not that it’s any kind of competition) or are seniors and still have no plan for the future. The more you realize this, the more you understand that there’s no right way to do things. You should only be worried about what’s right for yourself. That can mean taking time off for mental health reasons, wanting to do a gap year and work for a while, deciding to change your major halfway through, taking the amount of units that feels manageable for yourself, etc. I may not be graduating on time, but that isn’t the end of the world and it won’t determine how successful I am. It just means that’s how things have worked out for me, and I’m working at a pace that suits me. I don’t have everything figured out yet but I don’t mind taking more time if that’s what I need.  

If you’re a senior transfer like me, just remember you don’t have to let that define you and you don’t have to feel pressured to fit into the perfect senior image. Focus on your own individual path because at this point, that’s all that matters. Anyways, it might be nice having to stay an extra year if you feel like you didn’t have enough time to have a well-rounded college experience. Santa Barbara isn’t the worst place to spend more time in!