By Andrew Street
Social Media Editor
Transferring to any college or university is no easy feat. Switching schools brings along a change of scenery, but also introduces an array of new social and academic challenges. Transfer students often enter an environment with little knowledge of the community or culture, and without a sense of belonging. As a second-year transfer, I have seen the College’s attempts at indoctrinating these incoming students, but feel that despite its best efforts, entering as a transfer student still proves difficult.
Welcome Week is a staple for incoming freshmen at nearly all four-year schools. This is a crucial time for students to become acclimated to the school, learn the culture and build potential friendships. It’s an easy gateway to making the transition easier.
Until this year, transfer students lacked a formal Welcome Week at the College. This meant that the summer orientation was the only pre-semester opportunity to get acclimated to the campus layout. This event doesn’t offer much opportunity to meet the other students. Thus, transfer students were left entering the semester with little knowledge of geographical details and no friends for support. However, since the College has decided to implement a Welcome Week for transfers, this could change.
The living situation of a student also plays a large role in introducing them to potential peers and prospective friends. Depending on the year you transfer into the College, your housing situation varies. In my personal experience, I entered as a junior and I resided in Townhouses South, which left me with my own room on the first floor and only one suite mate. While the townhouses are great, they don’t introduce as many opportunities for building friendships as other residence halls do.
There is also a club at the College dedicated to transfer students called the Student Transfer Association, which aims to assist transfer students in meeting new students who are going through the same struggles as they are. The club offers activities and trips for students to acclimate and meet new people. However, I think it still proves difficult to find your niche as a transfer student. Many mixers and forced ice breakers often turn awkward, and they lack the synthetic nature of meeting new people.
When it comes down to it, being a transfer student is difficult. It is through no fault of the College, though, which seems to be searching for ways to make the transition easier. When a student is entering a community of already-established groups and friendships, and joining a campus of students who already have their own social circles and have adapted to the culture, it can be difficult to fall into place.
Housing situations, Welcome Weeks and occasional mixers can assist in building these relationships most college students strive for, but as a transfer, you just have to put yourself out there.
Being yourself, putting yourself in social situations and finding clubs you’re passionate about can lead you to the end goal. Of course, that isn’t always easy and some people are simply more socially articulate than others. Despite that, transferring is a challenge worth overcoming despite its difficulties, since it will ultimately improve your college experience.