Feel free to transfer

By Jenna Careri

Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian
(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

We are long past the halfway point of the semester. We have settled into our dorms and schedules. We’re planning our winter breaks. We’re registering for next semester’s courses and stressing out about final assignments, but we are enjoying our lives here.

But what if you’re not?

By this point, freshmen know their routines. The craziness that comes with the beginning of the school year, the beginning of college, has calmed down. There is time to actually evaluate how you are feeling.

What if you aren’t feeling good?

If you are a freshman, people are probably constantly asking you how you like college. Most freshmen pass off the question with a simple, “I love it!” or “It’s great!” and many of them actually mean it. But there are some who don’t. There are definitely some who wonder where they went wrong, who wonder if what they are feeling is normal, who wonder how to respond.

As a transfer student, I have felt this struggle. If you feel like this, you are not alone, and you do have options. The transfer rate for college students was one in three in 2010. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 37.2 percent of college students transfer at least once within a six-year period.

Yes, you read that right. One in three college students at either a four-year or two-year college ends up transferring at some point. So you are not alone. There are plenty of students out there who also feel like they made a mistake. Regardless of what we are told, it is okay to not like your college, or to not like college in general. It does not have to be the best four years of your life. Like many other things in college, just because people said it in high school does not mean it is true.

Of course, the first thing you need to do when you are thinking about transferring is to figure out how you are really feeling. Stop Googling “good reasons to transfer” and “why do I hate my college.” Sit down and have a real conversation with yourself, because ultimately this decision is yours.

Google results will tell you that transferring because your school doesn’t offer the right major is a good reason. They will also tell you that transferring because you aren’t making friends is not a good reason. Your resident assistant might tell you to get involved, to branch out and try new things. Your friends might tell you that you will feel better after you go home for a weekend.

But none of that really matters. Sure, you should try new things. Yes, maybe you are just homesick. Of course changing your major is a good reason to transfer. But no matter what your RA, your friends, Google, or even your parents say, not making friends can be a good reason too.

It all comes down to how you are feeling. You know yourself better than anyone else. You know if you aren’t making friends because you aren’t trying, or if this really is not the right atmosphere for you. You know if you are unhappy because it takes you a while to adjust to change, or because you actually dislike your environment. You know if you can change your situation enough for you to be happy.

It isn’t about making it tolerable. That will not be enough. You need to be happy. You deserve to be happy. You have to spend years of your life at your college. You don’t have to love it. You don’t even have to want to spend all your time there. But you do have to like it.

If you’ve gotten to this point in the semester and you are still questioning whether you like it, it might be time to check in with yourself. Transferring is an extremely personal decision. It is different for every person. Don’t let what the people around you say be the defining factor in your decision. This is a decision you need to make for yourself. Go ahead and check in with the people you care about, but also leave some time to check in with yourself.

One in three college students transfers. It’s okay if you’re one of them.

Jenna Careri is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]