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The Blue & Gray Press | October 23, 2017

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Transfers struggling to find community on campus

Transfers struggling to find community on campus

By EMILY AINSWORTH

Transferring to a new school is similar to being a teenager; both involve being caught in the middle of a major transition. As neither a freshman nor a veteran, people are quick to assume that if you are a new student, you are a freshman, which can get very annoying.

There have been several times when I have heard, “you’re new, are you a freshman?”

Everyone knows that entering a new school is emotional. Some transfers are nervous or anxious, some are excited and some are a bit of both. I was a little of both. I was happy to leave community college and have more personal freedom at the University of Mary Washington.

I was excited that I had met all my general education requirements and could select interesting classes in my major as well as meet new people. I was nervous about making new friends, the difficulty of my classes and what my professors would be like. In the end, my curiosity extended past my own experience and left me wondering how other transfer students were feeling.

“You have to adjust to new people and new rules, everything is nerve-wracking,” said sophomore transfer student Millie Biddle. Like Biddle, I had to adopt a new system.

Although there is an orientation for transfers in the summer there should be more events to fully immerse transfer students to the UMW campus. It would be a good way to connect with other transfers since we have these transfer experiences in common. Events should not be mandatory like freshmen events, but they should be offered.

Junior transfer student Abbi Nibblet had a different view of this topic. She said that UMW should make clear that “transfer students are welcome to attend freshmen activities. That way they have the option to come.”

I see where Nibblet is coming from, but I do not think mixing freshmen and transfer students is a good idea. It makes transfer students want to shy away from the social events mostly because of the age differences.

Because transfer students are in an awkward gray area, it is hard to find our place. “There is a smaller percentage of [transfers] and they are not as important as the freshmen are,” said sophomore transfer student Sarah Gerde.

UMW does have resources that can benefit transfer students. However, like Gerde alluded to, transfers are not as much of a priority as the freshmen are. Yes, we are older, but we should have more transfer-focused events such as lunches together or group study sessions. We need to feel welcomed so we can better find our place and build a community with each other first as a foundation for acclimating to UMW.