10 Things They Somehow Never Tell You About Transferring Colleges
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10 Things They Somehow Never Tell You About Transferring Colleges

The lessons I learned the hard way, so you don't have to.

10 Things They Somehow Never Tell You About Transferring Colleges
Victoria Heath

I wasn't always a BGSU student. I'm in my third year of college, but in my first semester at BGSU. I've transferred schools twice. Fresh out of my Illinois high school, I attended Truman State University in Kirksville, MO.

That lasted a year.

I was unhappy there for several reasons (and happy for others), one of which was due to a battle with untreated depression that started to negatively affect my grades. I had to get out of what I thought was my dream school. Leaving many close friends behind, I headed home at the end of the school year to receive help for my mental health. I had that talk with my parents and was bombarded with the expected panic and concern. I knew I could be happier, and I was destined to make it happen.

I stayed home for a year, attending my local community college and going to my bi-weekly psychiatrist appointments, seeing a therapist for a few months as well. I was getting better, and I already knew I wanted to attend BGSU. I applied as soon as I could, and was accepted a few months later. I was thrilled.

Although there is a lot of my story that has been left untold, there are a few things I want to tell you about transferring schools that I wish I would have known when I made the decision to do so.

1. You're going to be lonely

Most freshmen attending an out-of-state university feel this way, but I had another layer of isolation. I was a transfer student and a sophomore. I didn't know how to categorize myself. I was technically a first-year, but it was not my first year of college. It was confusing. I did not experience the desperation I did as a freshman to befriend every person on my floor. By the time you're in your third year of college, you're more focused on academics than making friends. That's okay. You will make friends, but...

2. Making friends is harder

I live in a learning community, and I thought this was going to make friends easier. Nope. In fact, it seems like it's more difficult because a lot of them know each other already. The freshmen have their own camaraderie. As upperclassman, I'm expected to have my friend group down already. You just have to step outside of your comfort zone and start the conversations, give the compliments, take initiative. It's hard, but having a supportive social circle can really make or break your school career.

3. You'll be treated like a freshman

During opening weekend, I was forced to attend all of the events for new students. These were all directed towards freshmen. I felt alienated again. Do I really belong here? I've been through this before. Why do I have to do this again? I already know how to be a college student. Even though you're not very old, you're going to feel like an elder compared to everyone else at these events.

4. Transferring credits is a pain

Talk about an uphill battle. This was especially difficult since I attended two different schools prior, and they were both out-of-state. Transferring credits is not always a matter of just sending in your transcripts. It can also require you to obtain the syllabi from every class they do not recognize and sending those in, hoping you get credit. Which leads me into the next point...

5. You might have to retake credits

It seems that there is always a class or two they don't have an equivalent for, and so you have to take another science, or another language class when you should have been done already. It feels like you wasted money, time, and energy.

6. You're going to be more prepared

Unlike your freshman counterparts, you've experienced the college life already. Navigating campus is easier, those classes you didn't get credit for may come in handy in others, and you overall have more life experience. You've experienced more people, more professors, and more curriculum. You got this.

7. New School = New Experiences

Transferring colleges introduces you to new events, different organizations, more people, and fresh opportunities. This is the most exciting part of transferring schools. Experiences are what make us into the people that we are, and it is important to always be open to new ones.

8. You're going to compare schools constantly

It doesn't matter how similar or different your new school is vs. your old school, you will compare everything from the dorm bathrooms to the distance to the nearest city. At Truman, the closest city was an hour and 45 minutes away. We were in a bubble. Here at BGSU, we're only about twenty minutes from Toledo, OH. Most of these comparisons are reassuring that I made the right decision, FYI.

9. You're going to have major FOMO

I wish I would have chosen BGSU as my first school, but it wasn't even on my radar. I wouldn't give up the experiences I had at my previous schools for anything. I am who I am today because of them, and I met wonderful people. However, I consistently wonder what would have happened had I been at BGSU for my first two years. What did I miss out on? I wouldn't be a few credits behind, that's for sure. No matter, I'm still happy.

10. You're going to hope this is "the one"

I started my college career thinking I was attending my dream school, and it was just the opposite. There is absolutely no shame in transferring schools, and we can never predict what life is going to throw at us. Luckily, I finally found my dream school, and I'm extremely grateful. I was afraid that it wouldn't be "The One" before moving in. What if it's just another Truman? What if I hate the bigger campus? What if I'm way behind on my BFA program? I absolutely love it here. Everything will work out, I promise.

When I transferred to BGSU, I stressed myself out for nothing. Honestly, I still do.

However, I have no regrets. I'm so happy I found BGSU. I know that I'm happier here than I would have ever been at Truman. As an incoming freshman, I thought I knew what I wanted in a college, and I was wrong. How could you possibly know when you've never even attended college? I think that I needed that experience to truly know what my priorities were in a school, and what would actually make me happy.

Again, there is no shame in transferring schools. Make yourself a priority, and you will find happiness.

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