The first day of college is the most exciting and terrifying moment for many students. Entering a classroom with a sea full of strangers, having little to no friends to eat lunch with and of course the navigation through this completely foreign environment can be very stressful to anyone. I chose to go through this stressful first day of a new world twice.
I am indeed a transfer student here at Slippery Rock University. I attended a community college for two years earning my associate’s and I am now here on the road to a bachelor’s degree. Let me tell you a little secret: my second first day of college was brutal. Being a transfer student is hard. I felt like I was on the outside of my neighbors in the dorms, organizations and the overall participation in Slippery Rock events.
I have now been here a year and I no longer feel like a transfer. I very much feel a part of the senior class. I feel like I belong. If you are also a transfer student, I have some suggestions that might help the transition of transfer “outsider” to a fellow student.
One: Join as many clubs and organizations that apply to your major as possible. The people in your major are the people with whom you have the most in common! They are the people you will do group projects, late night runs to Sheetz and study sessions with until all hours of the night. Joining clubs made me feel extremely welcome to the Slippery Rock community and gave me something to look forward to throughout the week.
Two: Leave your comfort zone, to an extent, at the door. You are in a new environment again, so why not try new things? Put yourself out there when it comes to leadership positions. Be the first person to raise your hand proud with the answer. Talk to the new face sitting next to you in class. Most importantly, do not be afraid of speaking up!
Three: Find yourself. One of the hardest things about being a transfer student was all the time I spent by myself every day. I was always surrounded by my huge family and tons of friends back home. I never did things alone. Here, it was different. I was “always alone”. I went to see a movie in the student center theater and really took in the movie. I went grocery shopping and got to decide things I like, not what the family likes. I wrote scripts and journaled. I was free to be creative with personal projects regarding my major that I could not do when I was around all the noise back home.
Four: Be patient. This is the most important advice I can give anyone. Last year was tough. Tears were shed and the days felt long. But I never gave up. I continued to attend club meetings. I continued to speak to the new faces around me. I continued to learn how to be with myself. I kept pushing through until I was happy again. Then, one day I had friends, a roommate, a leadership position, and so many great things to look forward to in the upcoming new year. I made it to senior year with a smile on my face and friends by my side.
Being a transfer and a college student can be difficult for anyone. Remember, the people around you are probably going through the same thing as you. Do not sweat the small stuff and keep pushing through the hard times. Happiness is waiting for all of us one semester at a time!