If you had told my high school self that I would end up attending three different colleges in my undergraduate career I would’ve laughed. Well it turns out that three schools and three semesters later, I have finally found my place. I’ve realized that transferring really isn’t that uncommon, and it’s actually a smart move if you're not happy. I began my freshman year of college at High Point University. I was excited about moving eight hours away from my hometown at first but after all the buzz and newness wore off, reality set in. I went through all the motions- I bonded with my roommate, made new friends, joined clubs, got involved with the social scene, and registered for sorority recruitment but I realized that none of this made me happy. I was upset and in a town hundreds of miles away from familiarity.
I was very open with my parents about my feelings and they were as supportive as they could’ve been from that far away. My mom wanted me to finish out the year and I figured I could do that. High Point wasn’t a bad school, it just wasn’t right for me. Finally winter break arrived and I was thrilled to be back at home with my friends and family. Time had been moving so slowly while I was at High Point but time at home went by in a flash. A few days before I was scheduled to fly back to school for the spring semester I was feeling anxious. I knew I wanted to transfer eventually but I couldn’t even stomach the idea of going back for another semester. One of my friends asked me something that helped me realize what I needed to do. She asked me, “Can you see yourself graduating from this university?” and I immediately said no. Therefore, why waste more of my time being unhappy there? There was nothing forcing me to stay so I decided not to back back. Two days before my flight I broke the news to my parents. I knew they would have objections so I had to have a plan. I would attend my local community college for the spring semester, get a part-time job, and in the meantime I would begin the process of applying to colleges all over again. So we made a dramatic eight-hour drive to High Point, packed up my dorm, and turned around to drive eight hours home. My mom cried (she really liked the school). I didn’t.
That spring semester ended up being extremely productive for me. I wasn’t losing any credits, I was making money, and I knew what I wanted in my next school. I realized that it was completely normal not to love your first choice because how are high school students supposed to know what they want in a college if they’ve never experienced it? I thought I wanted a small college because I had attended a small high school but it turns out that a big university is where I belong. For me, it took experiencing it to know what I did and didn’t like.
I started my sophomore year at the University of Delaware and immediately fell in love with the school. I had always thought my friends were exaggerating when they would say things like this about their schools but now I knew that they weren't. So my advice is, if you know that it’s not the right fit, don’t wait to transfer. Keep in mind that the first few weeks of college is an adjustment in itself so give yourself some time to adapt but don’t force it. The longer you wait to make a move, the more time you could have spent somewhere else. I’ve met a lot of older transfer students at the University of Delaware who really regret waiting as long as they did to transfer. I wish I had gone to the University of Delaware my freshman year but I always have to remind myself that my first year was a learning experience. For those high school seniors deciding on a college now, don't feel like you're locked in to your choice. Don’t put off your happiness or settle because there is a school for you. In the end I’m thankful that I went through this experience because I learned so much about myself and realized that the first two schools led me to where I belong.