Transfer Student Survival Guide
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Transfer Student Survival Guide

Transfer Student Survival Guide

Congratulations on your acceptance to the University of Maryland, College Park. By accepting your admissions offer, you have agreed to join a pantheon of fearless and incredible students, faculty and staff, all dedicated to furthering the pursuit of knowledge.

I get that after pillaging our website for financial aid information and spending countless hours researching the difference between a semi-colon and ellipsis for your admissions paper, you’re probably very aware of how great this school is. I’m emphasizing this point because I want to you understand just how mind-blowing your experience here can be, before I completely shatter your expectations.

I’m being dramatic, of course, but the message is still clear; your first year at the University of Maryland has the potential to be the most illuminating and comprehensive time of your life, or, as was the case for me, a period of utter bewilderment and sheer chaos, depending on the decisions you make.

As a transfer student from a small liberal arts college nestled in deep country, far from “distractions” like hot water, public transportation and football, you can probably imagine just how maddening it was realizing how much of everything, ever, there is at this school. I mean, I dare you to try to find another place in the world that has a nuclear reactor, farm and weight room within a mile of each other. That being said, the urge to explore and make friends quickly blind-sided me during my first months here, destroying any sense of awe and leaving me unfocused and insecure.

Only now, in retrospect, have I begun to see how unprepared I was for the transfer process. It goes without saying that leaving an old school behind, even for greener pastures, is not easy and could potentially derail academic success. So in an act of unmatched benevolence, I have decided to compose a list of lessons I’ve learned after a disastrous first semester.

Going out and being active is necessary, but for heaven’s sake, stay organized.

Like I mentioned before, there is very little the University of Maryland doesn’t have, and taking advantage of its facilities is an important part of being a student. However, it can be difficult to discern which activities are truly important and which are trivial. In your search for enlightenment here at College Park, be sure to keep your schoolwork at the forefront of your thoughts because due dates are vicious and unforgiving creatures, very much like the professors who assign them. Remember: C’s get degrees, but A’s get better pay.

It is your first semester on campus, do not try and bite off more than you can chew.

You may have been the kid who raises the class average enough to screw everybody else over at your previous institution, but College Park is a completely different ball game. Classes here can be huge, meaning that there is less room to negotiate with your professor over grades and exams can weigh more. Take the time to adjust to the pace of classes before you begin to branch out. Freshman Forgiveness exists for a reason. As an added note: The bars will always be there my friend, your pristine GPA may not.

Making friends takes time; don’t rush it.

Good friends are hard to come by, rightfully so. Hitting Happy-Hour everyday will only win you strong relationships if your hobbies are limited to public intoxication, stumbling and regret. Good friendships start with shared interests (they also usually start sober), so instead of trying to find the Batman to your Robin at Cornerstone, go out and join a club or volunteer. These activities are not just resume builders; they can actually add value to your life. And always be active and be friendly, you never know who you might run into.

You are going to feel lonely sometimes, it happens to everyone.

Starting the college process completely anew is difficult, especially when you don’t know anyone on campus. You may find yourself alone frequently while you’re adjusting, which is perfectly fine. Again, making friends takes time. Don’t try to fill that hole in your heart by going out every night.

Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Whether it is homesickness, grades or making friends, you are not the only person out there with problems. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Chances are somebody else is, or has, gone through the same situation as you and can lend a hand. Remember: the school offers free counseling services of all varieties. Seeking out other transfer students is always a good idea as well.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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