At the start of the Winter Quarter and the new year, I figured I would do some self-reflection of the last 3 months of my life. In September, I packed up my things and settled in a dorm for my first year at WWU and things, I've realized, are not always what I expected them to be.
1. Community college was so easy.
This is where I took all of my easy classes and all of the professors weren't as serious as the university professors seem to be...
2. Making friends isn't as easy as I thought it would be.
As a transfer student, you don't have the same community that freshmen do. We didn't come in a large group and all have very different transfer experiences that make it difficult to connect to one another.
3. Sometimes it's going to feel impossible to balance work and school.
I worked as a community college student, but those were all 100 and 200 level classes that didn't demand the same amount of attention that I have to give in my upper-division classes, so working and getting schoolwork done (especially during finals week) can be a hassle sometimes.
4. Living in the dorms is a lot lonelier than I thought it was going to be.
Here, I'm surrounded by people that are younger than I am. Although I'm only a couple of years older, I'm not necessarily looking to party all week. Per #4, it's a lot harder to connect with people that either isn't your age or have other things in mind.
5. I won't have as much time to make the lasting friendships that everyone talks about.
Jumping in as a transfer student, we're expected to do grueling work. Many of us jump right into our majors and don't have a lot of time between school and work to spend time making friendships outside of class
6. I was lucky to know what I wanted to do.
I took a class with some students that weren't sure what they wanted to do and it was stressful for them. They came on a whim and either changed the major they were initially coming for or didn't even know in the first place. I, luckily, had settled on my English Literature degree while I was practically still in the womb.
7. I may have come off as a genius at my community college, but here, the playing field is even.
At my community college, I was surrounded by high school students. I excelled in all my 100 and 200 level courses and graduated with high honors. I felt like I was on top of the world. While I'm still a good student here, I'm also surrounded by the same kinds of people and everything is evened out. When you're kind of obsessed with your grades, transferring is a humbling experience.
8. Everything is a lot harder if you're away from home.
I was lucky enough to live at home when I was going to community college. I was padded by the wallet of my parents and not having to spend the money I made at work on groceries. Here, everything is different. I live paycheck to paycheck and have to worry about saving for the future when the loans I took out decided they want their money back.
9. I would not have been ready for this right out of high school.
Retrospectively, out of high school, I really didn't know what I wanted. I had the idea of a major in my head (which eventually ended up changing like twice before I truly settled on English). I went back and forth for two years on how I was going to pay for things and if taking out my entire tuition in loans would be worth it (obviously I thought it was at the end of two years). My feeble little mind was not ready to make those big decisions.
All of this is not to say that my transfer experience was bad, but that it's not all butterflies and rainbows. We all struggle even if we don't want to admit it. We think that we can handle major changes when they come, but sometimes, it's difficult to cope and that's OK. Here's to a better and hopeful new year!