Overcoming Challenges

The Transfer Experience—"it's like being a fish out of water"

From a Lost Community College Student to a Full-Ride Boston University Scholar

Some of my BIGGEST challenges of being a transfer student:

  • Feeling like a nobody

    • I came from a community college where I served in multiple presidency positions, I knew the school janitors, and I gave a talk at the Board of Directors meeting. I came from knowing everyone, to knowing no one.

  • Size of the university

    • BU was 20,000 students larger than what I was used to

  • Weather

    • The Boston weather was harsh, windy, and often dreary. I also had no car compared to at my previous community college, so the transition in the cold months were harsh.

  • Distance

    • The distance from my home in California was a huge challenge as many students would be able to go home during holidays, whereas I couldn't because flights were too long or expensive.

  • Housing

    • It was my first time living in a dorm, with two other students, totaling to a triple occupancy dorm. I knew none of them.

  • Missing my community at my old campus

    • Most of all, I missed the "norm" of my old school and desired the community that I had before.


Despite the constant challenges, tears, and moments of wanting to give up and go back to the life I led, I managed to step out of my comfort zone and make Boston University my new home away from home. It started with reaching out for help from advisors and simply saying "hello" in the Dining Halls!

WordPress Blog Post: A Journey Like No Other

The best way to start a story is from the beginning. This is somewhat of a beginning to my story. This is...an honest background.

I was born and raised in the beautiful city of San Jose, California. I'm also the youngest of seven siblings who've paved somewhat of a path before me...but I wanted something different.

High school. We all "love" that time of our lives...

I wouldn't say I was the "best" student in high school, but I was a very passionate student. I placed my focus on extracurricular activities and pursued leadership positions in Key Club, the school newspaper, youth ministry, and many, many more clubs. I wouldn't trade those experiences for the world.

Let's just say college wasn't anywhere in my radar senior year of high school. I even procrastinated on a lot of my college applications (yikes don't do that, seniors!). I did little to no research on what school I wanted to go to, what major I wanted to pursue, or who I wanted to be. How could a 17 year old make such a big decision?

I became caught up in the titles and rankings of universities. I felt overwhelmed and lost.

"It doesn't matter where you go to college. It's what you make of your experiences during college that makes all the difference."

Boy, did I hear this phrase a lot in high school. If this phrase was supposed to comfort me, it didn't really help at the time.

I'm going to be honest. I got rejected to a lot of schools. Like, a LOT. And that hurt.

Did I not have the highest GPA? Probably. Could I have spent more time on the applications? Maybe.

This might sound like an excuse, but it's the truth. I was just literally so caught up in finishing high school on a strong note that I didn't have much guidance on life after it.

While all my friends were getting into schools and I wasn't, I felt myself spiraling and even more confused.

To make things even more complicated, I ended up being tied between University of San Francisco and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I even declared to friends a few times that I would be going to one of these schools just to make them shut up and to stop asking me what my plans were after senior year. Because in all honesty, I didn't know. Plot twist: I also didn't end up going to any of those schools.

I made that decision after being asked this question:

"If you could study anywhere in the world, where would you go?"

And at that moment, for the first time in my life, I felt as if I had the world in my hands.

Long story short, after graduating from high school, I decided to follow in the footsteps of my sister and go to the middle of nowhere... Iowa! No, that wasn't the answer to the previous question...and if I could study anywhere in the world, I don't think I'd study in Iowa (sorry).

At the time, my sister was a graduate student at Iowa State University and asked if I would like to live with her for a year to get situated and out of California.

"You can study here for a bit and then transfer to wherever you'd like to"

The idea of transferring was very uneasy for me. I remember feeling as if I was going to miss out on that "first year experience." I remember feeling as if I was losing in the "race" against my friends. When in reality, it was the race between no one else but myself.

I needed to take a step back.

After all, no college experience is the same.

Going out of state, starting over, attending the community college--this was the biggest blessing in disguise.

While I was so nervous about temporarily dropping my life and everything and everyone I knew in California, I knew I needed a fresh start.

I ended up attending Des Moines Area Community College and eventually was cross-enrolled at Iowa State University.

I knew from the start that Iowa wouldn't be where I'd want to spend my college years and yet I still stayed. Though it was a very, very rough transition, I grew from every challenge. I enjoyed it and I would almost say I thrived for a bit (check out the LinkedIn!)

Iowa: It was where I first learned to drive, where I first voted, and where I made my first true friends.

So to anyone who claims that Iowa is in the middle of nowhere, yes I completely agree. But for me, it became so much more than that.

...

But this is not the story of how I got to Iowa or how I survived in Iowa, this is the story of how my high school years and Iowa lessons worked to shape who and where I am today.

I'm now a student at Boston University studying Public Relations. I'm a transfer student.