Transferring colleges should be considered more than just an awkward transition – it can be a transformative, life-changing experience. I transferred colleges for a boy who ended our three-year relationship within the first two weeks of switching schools and I survived, so believe me when I say that anything is possible.
As a Blacksburg native, I had made a decision long before I’d even reached puberty that I, Christina Kass, refused to ever attend the university known as Virginia Tech. So I packed up my belongings and hauled all that I owned exactly twenty-two minutes away (eighteen if you decide to risk a speeding ticket) to Radford University.
Now, most wouldn’t consider this movement much of an act of rebellion. Truthfully? I honestly didn’t want to leave my parents behind, not yet. Being incredibly close to my family had its pluses and minuses, but I just couldn’t draw myself away from my childhood home. So with a newly found Hokie boyfriend and my mother within spitting distance, I began my life as a Highlander, with the glory in that lasting approximately three weeks. Radford was an incredible school, with a communications department to die for, but the atmosphere outside of the academia was not for myself. Not only that, but I spent every weekend with either my parents or my boyfriend, ignoring any opportunity in starting long-lasting friendships in Rad-town. So, after sophomore year ended, I applied to Tech, made the switch back into Blacksburg, and got a house with four other lovely girls.
Two weeks into the semester, with absolutely nothing stable in my life other than my family and boyfriend, I was ever so kindly dumped. Like, big ol’ heaping pile of poo, dumped. I sat there, crying into my Scooby-Doo pillow at my parents, wallowing in my extensive self-pity, with the same question slapping me in the face over and over. Now what?
A year and a half later, after lots of trial and error, I have the answer to that concerning “Now what?” question. No matter what situation you transfer colleges in, whether it’s part of the plan or due to grades, social life issues, your parents, money or just the fact that you may have made a crappy decision, there are a multitude of steps that one can take to make this new school the school of their dreams. You are not alone in the process of adjusting, and have the opportunity to encounter so many more roads to happiness and success. Let’s begin:
Talk to any and every collegiate resource you can find.
If there was one thing I wish I’d done sooner, it would be going to my advisor. Nine times out of ten, almost every single one of your questions will be answered, with much-needed advice tacked on. Write down every question that has entered your brain within the past few months, any worry you have about the upcoming year, and come with an open mind towards your forming career path. These are experts trained in pointing students in the right direction; they’ve done their homework and know how to help. Not only can your advisor help you navigate the first few weeks of school, but can also be a friend to those who just need a helping hand in acclimating to the area in general, and can help make the most of this newest adventure.
2. Make as many types of friends as possible.
This may sound a bit strange, but what I’ve found as a transfer is that there are never too many friend groups that one can be associated with. Don’t feel compelled to have a deep connection with everyone you meet, but try to put yourself out there! Maybe Kathy from government history will know where the best bars are or which frat is the douchiest, while Megan from spin class may have found the perfect place to buy low-priced kale, and Jeff from your introductory biology class has this weekly study group that could totally help you score that A+. Making friends not only helps you socially, but it gives you a way to get to know the tips and tricks of town without having to make mistakes in learning them. As you get to know these people, you’ll begin to build the same friendships you had to leave behind, giving you the opportunity to find that best friend that’ll stand by you for the rest of your collegiate career and beyond.
3. Get a job or join an organization, and put yourself out there.
If you do anything, I swear on my life, join something. Getting involved is one of the best ways to put yourself out there for employers and start building your resume, even if it seems somewhat terrifying in a new school. Try to find a club that either suits your interests or seems completely out of your league, because chances are that you’ll not only meet tons of cool people, but can use these times as a good distraction to the stressors occurring from switching colleges. If joining a club just isn’t for you and money is more on the mind, then snag a job either on campus or downtown if it’s close. Not only will this once again help boost your resume, but help you meet people that may be on the same career path as yourself.
4. Upgrade to 2.0.
Getting good grades is one of the most important variables when it comes to succeeding in college. But staying healthy, eating well, working out, getting the correct amount of sleep and overall just taking care of yourself follow closely behind the academics. Take the opportunity in having a “do-over” with people that don’t know you well, start going to the gym more often or volunteer at the animal shelter. Take a painting class or find a new hobby, and be that person you’re 100% happy with rather than the 99% you were at before. There’s always room for improvement, and there’s never a better time than right now.
5. Don’t forget the past. Even though you’ve left your friends and maybe family behind, don’t forget to reach out to them. Try to schedule a weekend where you can catch-up on each other’s lives in person, or plan a night where both of you can FaceTime while doing homework. Starting a new life may sound enticing to those whom weren’t totally happy with their old one, but the people who have been rooting for you all along shouldn’t be forgotten. Keeping in touch can help keep homesickness at bay or even give you more ideas on how to improve your life at your new college.
6. Most of all enjoy your newfound independence all-over again.
Being an adult can be tough, and moving to a new place can seem daunting. But this is your chance to make the most of your excitingly new adventure! Take yourself out to eat or to a movie, go on that date with the cute boy from calculus or buy yourself a cat to keep the loneliness at bay. You’ve faced at least a year of college at this point; use the knowledge that you’ve accrued throughout your freshman year to help make this next semester twice as good. Remember that you’re a fantastic person and will do well in whatever you take on, as long as you put your heart into it. Success is just around the corner, and all your friends, family, and colleagues want to help you reach it. So grab this new opportunity by the horns, forget whatever issues you’ve had in the past, and become the superstar you were meant to be. Good luck!
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