How to transfer like a pro

Originally published in The Patriot —

When I decided that I was going to transfer to University of the Cumberlands, I experienced about a thousand different emotions.

Panic, excitement, fear – since the day I made my decision, at any given time I had a combination of these feelings.

However as soon as I arrived, I knew that I had made the right decision. Everyone was incredibly helpful. All of the faculty and staff were friendly and approachable. The welcome week team made sure I was never too lost or confused.

It’s now been over a week since I arrived on campus, and the feelings of being a lost “new kid” are starting to wear off. The newness never would have gone away had it not been for a few simple habits I decided to implement

I know transferring is an intimidating thing. The feeling of starting over is sometimes overwhelming. Nevertheless, here are ways I found to lessen this feeling and make starting over at UC one of the best experiences of my life.

1) Adhere to the old adage, “Make new friends but keep the old.”

The friends that transferred with me from home have become some of the most important people in all this. Likewise, with a world of technology at my fingertips, keeping in touch with those back home or friends who have gone different places is simple. Texting, group messages, and Skype have become my lifeline to my family and friends.

But making new friends has been an adventure. It is important to smile at people. Striking up conversation with someone who has the same interests as you, even in class, also helps develop relationships. Talk to people at work. Sit at a random table. Find your own personal style of friend making, and go with it!

2) Find an extracurricular that fits you.

Working and being involved in a sport is great! However, it may also be beneficial to find something that isn’t required for your scholarship and jump in! It will help you adjust and meet different types of people. It may count toward your community service hours too. And once you do complete your degree, extracurriculars pad your resume.

3) Remember to keep classes a priority.

If you are transferring, you obviously have some college under your belt. Do not assume that classes here are going to be the same as the ones at your previous school. That is probably not true. Be sure to ask questions, pay attention, and find out what study method works for you here!

4) Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Being new often coincides with being physically lost and mentally confused. Although you may be a pro at college, this campus may be difficult to navigate at first. More than likely, all the rules here are different than your previous school. Don’t be scared to ask where something is. Don’t be too intimidated to get clarification on a rule.

5) Whatever you do, don’t neglect your walk with God.

This is the most important tip. In a new place, you probably haven’t established a “home-away-from-home” church yet. But it is really important to do that! Likewise, it is crucial to keep doing daily devotions. Find a Bible study to get involved in if you can. Find a ministry and go all in. I find that I can’t do anything without Christ as my priority. This definitely applies to my transition to UC.

This place can be the home to some of your best memories. When you hang your University of the Cumberlands diploma on your wall someday in the future, you can be proud you chose to graduate from here. Those feelings are being developed now. Make the best of your transition!