The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
There you are, at the school you chose, living the life you thought you wanted, yet you would rather be anywhere else. It doesn’t feel right, no matter how hard you try, and now you don’t know what to do because weren’t the “college years” supposed to be some of the best years of your life? Suddenly you’re regretting the decisions that have led you where you are, yet you feel as though you can’t do anything about it — you don’t want to give up or face what feels like failure.
A lot of college students may entertain the idea of transferring, but not many go through with it. It could be that it feels like too much work to go through college applications all over again or it could feel too scary to basically restart the college experience. Whatever the reason, transferring can seem like it’s just not an option. But what is even worse is being unhappy and uncomfortable where you are.
I chose to speak with my friend Avery Santa Ana who used to attend the University of Utah, but now attends FIT in New York City. I met Avery in the most bizarre way, which isn’t too relevant to her story, but it still surprises both of us. Avery and I were both on vacation in Hawaii the summer before we began college. We had never met before but as some strange friendship fate would have it, Avery had seen me a month prior at orientation and recognized me a month later when she saw me at a restaurant in Hawaii. There we introduced ourselves properly and talked casually, laughing about how random and out of the blue this meeting was. Regardless, we stayed in touch since then, but I was truly surprised when she told me that she had decided to transfer because I had never suspected that she wasn’t enjoying where she was. When I talked to her now about this decision, she told me, “I knew the whole time. It didn’t feel right when I got there and that never changed.”
I think that this is pretty common amongst transfer students — they usually know right away that their chosen school just doesn’t suit them, though it may take time to actually confront this issue if they choose to. In Avery’s experience, she was able to “tough it out” for almost two years. But when she and thousands of other college students were sent home due to the COVID-19 outbreak, she was able to spend lots of time thinking and reflecting on what she really wanted for herself. Fortunately, she made the decision to at least apply to other schools as a transfer student, including FIT. Avery told me, “the moment I found out I was accepted was the most amazing feeling. It was exactly how it should have felt the first time.” She goes on to explain that she was, of course, unbelievably nervous to make this huge transition. But knowing how regretful she’d be if she didn’t, she did.
The idea that transferring schools is shameful or anything of the sorts is quite plainly, wrong. If transferring to a new college, whether it’s closer to home or much further, will make you feel generally more excited to actually be in school, then there’s no question about whether or not you should do it. Mental health, as always, comes first, and feeling stuck somewhere will surely not benefit it. As I listened to Avery talk about her life now, I could tell how much more content she is. She told me that she has moments where things feel surreal and that she can’t believe her life has become what it is. I would imagine that this is probably how the majority of transfer students feel once they are where they were meant to be, and I think that this is why transferring is worth it, even if it’s challenging at the start. And of course there will still be bumps along the way because these changes don’t have the power to make everything else perfect, unfortunately. But as I know and as Avery said, “you won’t know if it was worth it if you don’t try.”