This year I transferred to Wayne State College from Nebraska Indian Community College. Though both are thought of as somewhat small institutions, one is reasonably smaller than the other. I probably had about about 25 students in my graduating class at NICC if that helps paint a better picture. Being a “nontraditional transfer student” you notice quite a few things during your first couple weeks at your new school; here are a few of them.

1. Oh no, I don’t know anyone!

Transferring schools can be scary! You’ve been at the same place a couple years, you gotten to know the campus and the professors, you’ve made a name for yourself. Then you move to this new, big, place and it’s like being in elementary school all over again! You find yourself being worried about who you’re going to sit next to during class, praying that the professor doesn’t assign a group project because you know absolutely no one!

2. Why am I so much older than everyone in this class??

If you’re lucky enough all your credits will transfer and you’ll be in stimulating courses filled with students relatively your age. It didn’t work out that well in my case, so I have found myself in a couple entry level classes filled with, not so eager, freshman. Don’t get me wrong, they are a bright bunch! But when you walk into a classroom filled with 17-19 year-olds, it’s easy to feel, as a junior, like an old lady.

3. #DormLife

In my transferring experience, I am what they call a “nontraditional transfer” which is slang for “you’re kind of old so if you don’t want to live on campus your first year here you don’t have to." I chose not to and you know what? I kind of regret it. Moving to a new place where you might not know anyone - I sure didn’t - can be scary! Living on campus could help you feel less alone and give you more opportunities to do things on campus; join clubs, intramural sports and other extracurriculars. For the most part, I love living alone and on my own, but it can be lonely.

4. Squad Goals

At some point in our lives we are told we will meet our best friends, and possibly our husband or wife, in college. When you’re a transfer student it feels 10 times harder to meet people. It feels like everyone there knows each other and have been going to school together for the last few years. You wonder, will I be able to establish that solid friend group?

All in all, college what you make of it. Whether you’re an incoming freshman, a transfer student, or a single mom who decided that it was finally time to get that degree don’t go into this new big, intimidating place with negativity or a narrow mind. Be open to what the institution has to offer and most importantly why you’re there; to get an education, to make a future for yourself!