By Jehnaveiv Rogokos
Being a transfer student at any higher institution can be a struggle. It can be challenging because you are having to undergo big changes like being on a new campus, moving away from home for the first time, and understanding what resources are available. Whether it be a student that transfers from a four-year university or a two-year community college, it is a difficult transition for anybody.
I began my college experience at UC Santa Cruz. It was a very different experience because I had been through so much change all at once. I moved away six hours from home, had to navigate a university for the first time, make new friends, and more. Although it was difficult my first year, I felt more aware of the resources that were available to me. There were events like “Welcome Week” that showed us what we needed to know on campus. I also felt like living in the dorms placed in a community with other students in the same situation as me did help because I felt as if my experiences were shared with them. My first year of college was unique because at the end of my winter quarter we were sent home due to the outbreak of COVID-19. I ended up staying home until the end of my second year in college. I felt as if my time away from UCSC made me understand that this was not the school for me. I applied to UCSB and I got in.
At the start of my junior year, I moved away from home once again to start my new journey at UCSB. I thought that since I had been on a UC campus before it would be just like my freshman year. I was right about it being like my freshman year. I felt as if I was back in the same place of feeling scared about all of the changes like living in a new place, navigating a new campus, and making new friends. This time around it was even worse because I felt a sense of imposter syndrome and as if I didn't belong. It was difficult for me to feel like I fit in until I found campus resources that helped me get involved.
Diana Arya, an associate professor at UCSB, shared her journey with me as a transfer student. She recalls feeling emotional about her transfer experiences. She felt excluded and less important compared to the non-transfer students. She felt lucky to be there and had to do everything she could to prove that she belonged. It was challenging enough emotionally, but she shared that it was also hard on her academically because she did not receive the support she needed. Her transition from a community college to a large institution was hard because she lost most of the resources that she had available before the transfer. Overall, she shared that going to a community college helped her become the scholar that she is today. The belief that she had in herself helped her push through a tough time and navigate life at university.