Right after you decide to transfer:
1. This is the best decision I have ever made. Obviously, there was at least one reason prompting your departure from your first school. You might be scared to leave friends or to start over, but you know there was something crucial missing from your life at your First University. Whether you want to be closer to home; you are unsatisfied with your social life; or the school lacks your desired major, you now know exactly what you need from a school. You are incredibly pumped to enter Round 2 of Extreme College Search: Transfer Edition.
2. Remind me why I decided to go through this again? Um, yeah. If you are lucky enough to know exactly what college you want to attend, you can skip the delightful stage of poring through giant volumes on colleges from your local library, your eyes glazing over in between squinting at the microscopic print telling you the student population, percentage of students in Greek Life, and the percentage of males and females at Each. Freaking. School. If you don’t know where you plan to transfer — well, my friend, get ready to remind yourself to blink in between flipping those pages. And that’s before you decide which colleges or universities to further research online. And then there are application fees, essays, tours, and college interviews. Yeah, you’re wondering what the hell you were thinking putting yourself through this process again.
3. I am so getting into my top choice this time. Once you get through the initial excruciating phase of Applications and Tours: Take 2, you have no reason not to be confident. You went through the motions once before, so you have mastered the College Interview, and you know exactly what questions to ask. You charm the admissions counselor and rock those application essays. It’s easy to write about why you want to go to specific colleges this time, because you actually have concrete reasons. You are a pro, and there is no reason to think you won’t get in to your top choice.
4. I got in! Okay, so you definitely get in to at least one of the schools, and, chances are, you are feeling great. Why shouldn’t you be? If you can get in, you know you will thrive wherever you choose to go. This means you’re a success story no matter what, because you no longer need to worry about ending up at home, feeling like a dropout.
5. This is the school for me. You are the picture of self-assurance. You have carefully considered academics, distance, school size, gender ratio, Greek life, finances, etc., and you know that Transfer U. is the school for you. No question in your mind.
6. Oh god, what if I made the wrong decision? About having no question…You definitely have all kinds of questions swirling in a tornado of self-doubt in your mind. Oops, but you already accepted (what you thought was) the invitation to the best possible college for you. Here goes nothing.
Upon arrival at New University:
7. I can’t wait to make new friends! You arrive on campus and move into your room. If you have chosen to live with a roommate, you are likely excited to meet her or him. If you get lucky, a roommate is easily the fastest way to make a friend, and transfer students are often paired with other transfer students. You eagerly await meeting new people and making new friends. What better way to make a fresh start?
8. Is it possible to hate round 2 of college orientation more than the first round? If you are anything like me, you can’t stand orientations. They are chockfull of stupid icebreakers and introductions to people you may never see again. The sooner the orientation leaders stop singing songs and making you play name games, or lecturing you on policies you won’t remember tomorrow, the better.
9. Everyone thinks I’m a freshman. A little-thought-out issue that comes with the territory of being a transfer: You arrive with the freshman class, which is much larger than your transfer group. No one ever meets a new student and thinks, Gee, I bet that person is a transfer. They will think you are a freshman, and you will find yourself explaining over and over again that you are not. You will endure the incessant questions about why you chose to transfer with a practiced smile. In the process, you will certainly make at least a few friends.
10. I better meet some cute guys/girls here. This is for the single ladies (and men) out there. You will — even if you’ve officially given up on finding a date or significant other ever — be checking out the student body (pun intended). If you are lucky, you will either not care whether you end up with a date, or you will come across your future boyfriend or girlfriend in due time.
11. I am going to be on top of all my homework this time. This is true of every student everywhere, but especially true if you slacked off at your old school. Maybe it wasn’t challenging enough and you didn’t have to work hard, but this time you assure yourself that you will be incredibly organized and extraordinarily dedicated. Library, here you come! (This will last approximately three weeks. Go you.).
12. Oh god, what if I made the wrong decision? There it is again. Whether you get intimidated by a class; hate a professor; have trouble making friends; or get homesick, you will wonder this at least once over the course of your time at New U. If you do decide this isn’t the right fit, you act on that (See Thought #1). However, chances are you will come to the following conclusion and final thought:
Hey, I think I’m going to be okay.
And you know what? You will be.