You think freshman year is hard? Try being a transfer student and having to go through that awkward-where-the-hell-am-I phase twice. This is the reality for us transfer students, it’s a long process that can be extremely difficult but in the long run, leads to a happier and healthier college experience for many of us.
1. The fear of regretting transferring
Of course, it’s inevitable to have the fear that all this work: reapplying, getting accepted, changing your schedule, changing your location, dealing with new finances, and leaving your old campus life behind won’t be for the best. So many people have a different option and advice about whether to transfer or not but ultimately the decision is all up to you and it can be a lot of pressure. The future is unknown, are you going to like your new school better? Will you make friends? Will you be happier? What if you regret transferring and want to transfer back?
2. Not knowing anyone
This is a fear for everyone who enters college, but even more so for transfer students. When you enter mid-year, or at a year where everyone has already made connections previously, you can feel like a turtle in a big school of fish. It’s hard to put yourself out there, but even harder when everyone seems to already have a defined friend group.
3. Missing your old friends
The memories of all the laughs, drunken nights, and study sessions you had with your old buddies will weigh on your mind like bricks. Chances are, you didn’t transfer because of the social scene, but somehow that became a sacrifice in your choice to attend a different school. It might be easy to leave the school behind, but to leave some of the best friends you have ever made behind is so hard. Especially if the school you are transferring from is far, so traveling to go visit them is expensive and inconvenient.
4. Getting lost on campus
You get so used to where everything is at your old school that when you transfer you have to learn a whole new map. You knew where all your classes were and where all the buildings where now you have to walk around looking like a lost freshman trying to find where the dining hall is.
5. Adjusting to the population size
Same goes for the size of the student body, transferring from a larger school to a smaller one or a smaller school to a larger one can be a culture shock. Even if you wanted a small/larger student population it can still be weird adjusting to more/less people being around campus.
6. Getting used to the campus lingo
Every college has acronyms for almost EVERYTHING, it seems like there is never a dining hall that is ever called by its actual name. You are so used to the acronyms from your old school that when you get to your new school and hear one of theirs used it throws you off, then they look like you like you’re crazy (what do you mean? What’s a “HoCo”?)
7. Adapting to the social life
Every school has a different routine social scene, and the school you came from could be completely different from the one you went to. Having to change up your study plans is one thing, and changing the social scene too? That’s a lot of stress for a college student just trying to fit in.
8. Always comparing the schools
It is really hard not to compare your two schools especially when there were aspects of your old school that you loved and some parts of your new school that you hate. Even though the school you transferred to is probably much different from the school you came from (or else you really wouldn’t be transferring) there will still be times that you will catch yourself saying “well at my old school…”
9. Learning the different academic structure
Academics seem to be a major reason in people’s decisions to transfer, whether it is transferring to pursue a major at a school with a better program or feeling like you are not getting the education you are paying for. You still have to get used to the way the program at your new school is run or like in my case you might transfer and change your major completely.
10. Befriending another transfer student
When you run into someone and you find out they too are a transfer student it’s like an instant connection, a unique feature you can’t bond other with just anyone. Although this is great and you have someone to talk to about all the struggles of transferring, it is important to not compare how they are adjusting to the school to how you are. Some people transfer adjust like they have been there since the beginning, while others it can be a challenge and it takes a while to feel fully adjusted to your new school.
Although transfer students will experience these struggles, they also will experience the best of times. Good luck at UNH, and remember there are hundreds of organizations to get involved with! Put yourself out there and maybe these struggles will fade away sooner than later.