As the sun was rising from the east, I could feel the butterflies flutter in my stomach as I thought about my first day of school. I always had these butterflies in my stomach since I could remember, but this was more than the butterflies I had when I went to my first day of high school. No, these butterflies came from the fearing of starting my first day of college at a different school. I had no idea how I would feel about being at a school I had little to no knowledge about the students would be like or how the professors would know my name. I had the dreaded feeling that the professors and student would treat me like I was an outside and would not talk me. I felt the great despair about how hard it was at my last college to try and make friends. This is what led me to change schools because I felt so out of touch at my last college with my professors and my fellow students. What scared me the most was the drive to school because I had no clue where to go when I got to Slippery Rock.
I went up to the commuter’s lounge to see if I could find a friendly face, but sadly no one was really there at 8:30 in the morning. So I did what any person who feels stressed out in this situation and that was go into the bathroom and calm down. I couldn’t believe that Slippery Rock let me and allowed me to even get a degree because I always felt out of touch compared to the other students experience. So I made a vow in the bathroom that day that I would not be afraid to try new experiences at Slippery Rock and now that I look back I realize how much I have learned from being a transfer student. There is so much more appreciation for Slippery Rock’s students and faculty. My one thing I have to say is that it is nice to know that the professors want to know your name and actually know what you want to do with your life. I have also heard other people’s stories about how they were treated when coming in as a transfer student to Slippery Rock. While trying to understand what I was going through coming to Slippery Rock I interviewed two students who have experience different situation when coming in as a transfer student.
Joshua Kellem, a senior journalism major, said that his experience was the same I felt when I started my first semester at Slippery Rock.
“Socially, I wasn’t put in the best situation transferring to any college as a junior, let alone the fact I lived off-campus. Everyone in my class has known each other since freshman year, and I here I am two years later,” Kellem said. “Having held leadership positions at my old college, I joined the SRU equivalent organizations right away. I rubbed people the wrong way coming in though. It was a weird space I was occupying. I thought I had to brag about my past to prove myself to everyone. Sometimes, there’d be arguments as well due to how I was accustomed to doing things at my old college, or difference in opinions. Things like that spread and people who haven’t had a conversation with me have an opinion of me.”
I felt the exact same way coming into the transfer program at Slippery Rock. I felt like a had to prove myself to other’s because I came in as a junior transfer I had a hard time making friends because most of my fellow students already knew each other from freshman year and I felt quite lost. My last school made me feel so unwelcome and out of place instead of going out and doing activities at Slippery Rock I chose to hide in the library and study. Another thing that struck me with the conversation I had with Joshua was how transferring to Slippery Rock help him to get out of his comfort zone.
“Transferring to SRU has shifted my view to think you have to put yourself out there, even when it feels like no one’s noticing you,” Kellem said. “Academically or professionally, I did that but socially it’s been weird. I’m in a predominantly female major, but, then again, most of my friends are, too. For the friends I have made, they’ve all been from different walks of life. I don’t have a political affiliation but many people here have one that is radically different than the people from my hometown, including one my good friends.”
When I started to realize that getting out of my comfort zone and doing activities at school would help me make new friends. I realize the horizon was endless with opportunities to achieve a better well-rounded education at Slippery Rock. I felt that when I came to Slippery Rock I would make more friends and a better output on my life, but that almost took a year to find out what groups really work for me.
Another transfer student that I got to know is a history major named Emily Rankin. Emily and I first met in our political science class first semester but didn’t get to know each other until we had math class in our second semester at Slippery Rock. Emily and I shared the same experience when it came to transferring schools and that was apprehension.
“I was a little apprehensive,” Rankin said. “My last college was not a good place to be. They were not dedicated to the students. Everyone at that college only cared about numbers and becoming bigger and better. But after the first day when I moved in I felt very welcomed. The students who helped move me in eased the transition and I ended up becoming friends with many of them. The professors did make me feel welcome and they were willing to work with me and my needs to advance.”
I felt the exact same way when I first came to Slippery Rock, but little by little, I found that it was okay to open up and meet new people. I do not live on campus so I never experienced what Emily had with the friendships of the dorm life, but I have learned how nice people have treated me since I came. Another thing I learned about Emily is how we both had bad experiences at our last colleges that we thought that Slippery Rock would be the same old.
“I was terrified of college since before I had such a bad experience but I really do love Slippery Rock,” Rankin said. “It is just one of those pit of your stomach feeling where you know something fits. I am not scared to be here I actually want to be here and be involved with campus activities unlike the college I went to before.”
So how many transfer students are coming to Slippery Rock and what percent are being accepted into the college? On collegetransfer.net, an estimated 7,583 students attend Slippery Rock and another 1,904 students are transfer students, most of which are coming from different parts of the state and out of state. The acceptance rate for incoming students and transfer students is a 65%. That’s pretty high compared to the last college I went to. What I learned from Slippery Rock is that there so many people on different journeys and its great to know that on my journey I can intertwine with other people what they have experience being a transfer student. I hope that this column has made a difference in your experience at Slippery Rock and I hope to get to know more students like me who transfer into Slippery Rock.