I would consider myself to have had an atypical college application process. I applied to all of the prestigious schools that my high school credentials aligned with, only to find myself with a lot of waitlists, deferrals, and ultimately, rejections. However, a few days after getting a rejection letter from Cornell University, I got another notice that in fact, I had not been completely rejected. Instead, the university had offered me a “guaranteed transfer option”. This meant that after completing my freshman year at any other school of my choice, I would have the opportunity to receive an ivy league education. I now realize that perhaps my decision would have been easier if there was more literature online with firsthand, real-talk experiences with it. You would think after hundreds of students have accepted this offer that there would be SOMETHING. But alas, there is not; so I want to do the best I can to explain why only a few weeks into my first semester here, I can say with certainty that transferring to Cornell was the best decision I have ever made.
On the surface, the decision to take this offer seems quite obvious. Who would deny an education from Cornell University, even if it meant waiting a year to get there? But it was definitely not that simple. As my senior year of high school came to a close, I watched as my friends celebrated their acceptances, purchasing a myriad of college merchandise and getting so hyped about the next four years at their respective schools. On May 1st I committed to Binghamton University, a school that I had no interest in at the time, but that made logical sense to attend given that I could pay state tuition for a year before going to Cornell. Everyone told me I was going to fall in love with Binghamton and never want to leave. I didn’t believe them, but that is exactly what happened.
Freshman year of college is unlike any experience leading up to it. You are finally independent of your parents; you are responsible for yourself socially, academically, mentally, and physically. That being said, the memories you make with the people you meet during this time are unforgettable, and you create bonds that are nearly impossible to break. So as it came time for me to make a decision about taking my guaranteed transfer option to Cornell, I was extremely hesitant. Why would I leave a school that made me so happy? Why would I put myself through the difficult transition of starting over from scratch AGAIN?
Ultimately, I realized that going to a university such as Cornell was an opportunity that I could not pass up. It also made a lot of sense for me, as a current Communication major, because Binghamton doesn’t even have a Communication program. However, this did not lessen the fact that I was really nervous to leave the comfort of my friends behind and start anew.
I wish I knew beforehand just how many people were going to be in the exact same position as I was when I got to Cornell. Upon arrival, I immediately was immersed into a community of hundreds of transfer students. I got involved in a myriad of different clubs and organizations, and everyone was so welcoming and eager to make new friends. Since Cornell is relatively large, people can’t really tell the difference between a transfer student and someone they just haven’t met before.
I now walk around Cornell with an infectious smile because I am studying something I love on such a beautiful campus with a motivated student body surrounding me. I learned that I could not have stayed at my previous university just for the social aspect; as much as I may have felt at home there, I look forward to creating a new home here.