So you finally made it! You were accepted, you paid your fees, registered for classes, and now here you are! It’s either hours, days, or a few weeks until you set foot on your new campus for the first day of school. Some of you may smoothly sail right on into comfort while others still may struggle to feel a part of the college. Either way, the first day can be stressful as it probably was for you on your old campus too! But it doesn’t have to be. Knowledge is power, right?
My first day and actually my first week was quite stressful and overwhelming, but looking back I realize if I would have known what to expect it might have been a bit easier to transition. So, here is my best advice for surviving the first day on your new transfer campus!
1. Parking. Yes, parking. While I am sure there are some of you with excellent parking situations I also know that some others may not have that. The first day on my transfer campus I actually ended up across the street at the far end of campus in a dirt parking lot. My advice: get there early and don’t be ambitious. Settle for the middle of the road…not literally though. Don’t follow the crowd to the closest parking, but go to the next best area and grab a spot. Otherwise you might end up driving in circles, running out of gas, trudging through a dirt lot, and late for class. If you are too late you may get dropped. So, do yourself a favor: arrive early and choose wisely!
2. School spirit. So, basically you will see a large amount of your new school colors. I remember this quite well. Universities tend to have a higher rate of school spirit and it can be kind of shocking. Along with this is a large number of super excited young people running around. This isn’t a bad thing, though! It’s actually quite exciting and while you may not have a lot in common with the more traditional students, the energy can be infectious! I say, enjoy it! It’s tough being a transfer student, especially when you come in as a junior, so don’t hesitate to show some school spirit. (Go Titans!!)
3. “Your people” AKA major-specific friends will be found…soon. I was really scared to start school last fall, being new on campus. However, I soon realized that there were many people also majoring in English that I had a lot in common with! For this reason I found myself talking to classmates more frequently and that truly made the transition easier — especially in my second semester. On the same note, you will find that some of your classes double as general education courses. Because of this you will encounter students in other majors just as you did at your CC. I actually found it interesting as an English major to get a psych or soc perspective on literature so I say, appreciate those in other majors but also enjoy “your people” too.
4. Professors. While I have come to know my professors more now that I am in my senior year, I am going to be honest and say that my professors, at first, were not as approachable as my community college profs. Or at least they didn’t seem to be. However, they truly are supportive and, from my experience, they want you to visit them during office hours to get help. Office hours are even more important for those of you who may be going into large classes where there are 100 students or more. You WILL get lost in that large of a crowd and you truly want your professor to know who you are…for the right reasons! So, while the professors may seem less accessible, remember they are people too: take the time to get to know them and seek out their advice.
5. There are not as many nontraditional students — and that includes moms. While the numbers are growing across the country, the fact of the matter is that most nontraditional students are attending community college. Because of this you may feel like a sore thumb, but I assure you unless you wear a shirt that says “I am a Nontraditional Student,” other students probably won’t know! It didn’t take me long to find a few transfer students so I recommend connecting with them and visiting your transfer center if your university has one. Also, I found myself very happy to talk to freshman because while they are super new to college and you aren’t, you are both new to this particular school! All I can say is, it gets better!
Transferring can be a tough transition, but “this too shall pass” so just enjoy your time and seek out help via transfer centers, adult re-entry centers, advisers, and professors. The weird transition will be gone before you know it and you, like me, will be applying to graduate from college!
Happy fall semester!! And if you need any advice, please feel free to ask!