Big School vs. Small School: A Transfer Student’s Point of View

I came to the University of New Hampshire from a small art school in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. It was funny to me how I was trading city life on a small campus, for a rural experience in the middle of nowhere.

I know UNH isn’t really the middle of nowhere- but you get my point.

The transition here seemed so much more difficult than when I did it the first time. At my old school, everyone starting their freshman year was having the same experience; not knowing anyone yet, trying to find where your classes are, and finding which clubs to join. 

As a transfer student, you can really feel like the odd one out. Everyone seemed so assimilated and in their element already when I arrived at UNH. I wanted so desperately just to mesh with everyone else, and fit in right away.

But that wasn’t the case. And I honestly didn’t expect it to be. I fumbled my way across campus, walking in circles to find out where my nutrition lab was. I watched friend groups eat together in Union Court. Finally, found out that I could use my dining dollars at Dunkin’ Donuts.

With such a big school, I’ve found that its also comes with a lot of people, and not a lot of time to meet everyone. Building friendships is definitely hard as a transfer. But what I’ve realized is that it just takes time.

Being in such a different environment, I was forced to put myself out there more. I started going to meetings for clubs and introducing myself to people. Doing this gave me the confidence I always wanted to have. 

This school gave me access to so many fantastic opportunities I couldn’t have imagined last semester. I’m training to be a DJ for our broadcasted radio station, and writing articles for online magazines. Small schools don’t always have these opportunities. 

So, both small and big schools have their pros and cons. Do I think I made the right decision transferring? Absolutely. Is it easy? Definitely not.

But don’t let that discourage you. I’m taking this as an opportunity to grow and become to person I’ve always strived to be. Going out of my comfort zone and trying new things. Meeting people and becoming part of the community, and so much more.

If you too are a transfer student, I hope this helped you, and gave you some perspective. Remember, we’ve all been there in one way or another.