How to Adjust After Transferring Colleges
By Megan C. Kenslea
Late one Saturday night in early September of 2010, I broke down crying. Sitting on my bed, I sobbed for what seemed like hours, inconsolable and convinced that I would never be happy at Boston University, where I had started days earlier.
While many freshmen in college experience a similar bout of homesickness, I was not a freshman. This fall, during my junior year of college, I transferred from the University of Delaware to Boston University, leaving behind friends and a routine I was comfortable with for something entirely new. While I had many reasons for transferring, that night the only thing I could think about was how lonely I felt just then, away from all of my friends.
Now, as my first year at Boston University comes to an end, I have a strong group of friends here whom I rely on and spend most of my time with. However, it wasn’t easy starting over—something that I hadn’t planned for.
I had expected that the transition from Delaware to B.U. would have been as easy as my transition from high school to college was, but as a transfer student, it was much more difficult to meet people and make friends. While all freshman are in the same boat coming into college, it is harder to navigate the waters of a new school as an upperclassman, when friendships are already formed.
Each student’s transfer experience is different, but there are several steps that any transfer student can take to make the process easier.
1. Live on campus.
If your school provides housing for transfer students, take advantage of it. I was placed in a double with another transfer student, and although we didn’t become close friends, she was a huge support in the beginning of the year when we were both still adjusting to school and meeting people. Even if you aren’t very similar (or, in our case, complete opposites), you can find common interests. Having someone to eat dinner with, go out at night with, or just talk to when you’re having a rough day makes the process instantly easier.
2. Reach out to acquaintances.
Although none of my close friends from high school went to B.U., I knew several people and got in touch with them individually the summer before the semester started. In the fall, a friend from high school invited me to his birthday party and I started having weekly dinners with a friend from Delaware who had transferred to B.U. during our freshman year. Through them, I started to meet more people, and build a network of friends
3. Get involved.
I can’t stress this enough. At Delaware, I was on the Model U.N. travel team, and when I got to B.U., the first thing I joined was the International Affairs Association, the umbrella organization for B.U.’s Model U.N. travel team. In addition to joining the travel team, I also signed up to staff an event on campus. I went to weekly meetings and stayed after to talk to people, and I slowly started to make more friends. One girl that I met invited me to hang out with her outside of the club, and through her I met an entirely different group of friends.
Joining clubs isn’t the only way to get involved. Some people join sororities, others join intramural sports teams, and others got on-campus jobs. There is no one right way to transfer, but, like all college experiences, you get what you put into it.
Megan Kenslea is a junior at Boston University pursuing dual degrees in Journalism and Economics.