Beginning the college journey is often difficult, and your first semester may be marked by uncertainty and homesickness, as well as a tendency to second-guess yourself. How do you know if your emotions are a sign to transfer schools, or if what you are feeling is completely normal? As you try to answer the question of “Did I choose the wrong college?” keep the following items in mind.
1. Recognize that everyone has bad days
Take a deep breath. There is a strong possibility that how you feel is normal and will diminish with time. Redirect your attention and participate in an activity you enjoy. Read a book in your favorite place on campus, call your best friend or your parents, or go for a run. The first semester of college can be overwhelming. It is important to set aside time for yourself. If you are experiencing more profound or lasting feelings, contact your health services office today. Participating in extracurricular activities can boost your college success, so why not give it a try!
2. Acknowledge that roommates are not a reason to transfer anything but your room
Many students transfer because of a horrendous roommate. If you are struggling with your living situation, speak with your resident assistant (RA) or another staff member who can help you come to a better compromise. This may be the first time that you and your roommate are living independently, let alone in a small room with another person. Establish ground rules if you can, or determine whether you can transfer rooms. “Horrible freshman roommate” stories are plentiful—do not allow that to ruin your college experience or to convince you that you selected the wrong college! Here are some great tips to help you adjust to dorm life.
3. Try new activities
Freshmen, and people in general, tend toward those pastimes that are familiar to them. Perhaps you tried out for the lacrosse team because you participated in high school, but you feel uncomfortable on the college squad. Perhaps your entire hall registered for laser tag, but the game does not engage you. No one in college knows what you enjoyed doing in high school – take advantage of this fact! Learn a new skill, or find a social niche with friendly students. If you cannot locate an activity you enjoy or a group of people you like, it may be time to consider transferring. Here are some great tips on how to choose your extracurricular activies.
4. Speak with a professional
If you are serious about transferring, or you are experiencing more than one major issue with your school, jot down the positives and negatives of remaining at the college, and then meet with a professional who can advise you. If you cannot think of a professor, mentor, adviser, or tutor who you believe you could talk to about this, a counselor is an excellent option. You might also call a teacher or coach from home. Making such life-changing decisions without any guidance is strongly discouraged.
Transferring is neither the end of the world nor a solution to all your problems. Whatever you ultimately choose, ensure you make your decision rationally and with the appropriate support. If you find that you did, in fact, choose the wrong college, understand that transferring seamlessly involves forethought and time – but given the correct circumstances, it may be a wise decision that leads to your increased happiness.