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Transfer students forgotten


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Published 2011-04-05T17:52:00Z”/>

opinion

August Walsh

Transferring to Chico State was the highlight of my college career. Too bad the university doesn’t care as much as I do, because transfer students are the forgotten stepchild of the college experience.

Deciding to attend a junior college before attending any four-year university automatically guarantees you a spot in the college student limbo. It’s a place where you realize you’re not shiny or new enough for anyone to be excited about your presence, but too experienced to expect anyone to help you through this hard time.

Because we’re slightly older than the average student when we start four-year college, many students, faculty members and university officials make stereotypical judgments about us when they learn we’re transfer students.

When my classmates find out I’ve transferred from a community college, many of them give me the look of pity, as if I’m not a true Chico State student. It’s the kind of look you give a puppy that you think is really cute but don’t want the responsibility of adopting.

Professors have even given me extra and unnecessary responsibilities because they assume that since I already have two years of college under my belt, I’m more reliable as a college student.

Wrong. Doesn’t it make sense that most students would take this extra long transition period from high school to college because they are less confident in their ability to do so and not in fact more qualified than those students who ventured so daringly into the middle of things?

Those who entered the university as a freshman don’t realize how lucky they had it. When first arriving in Chico, there were a grand total of zero useable resources for transfers. Not like it would have made much of a difference. Being new to an area, especially one like Chico, makes you stick out worse than a designated driver at a bar. Everyone is acting a fool and having a good time you just bob your head like you’re in on the joke. Even though most of the time you’re just trying to find others like yourself, you feel just as left out, awkward and confused by what’s so funny.

There needs to be more resources available on campus for transfer students because we have half as much time at Chico as freshmen to build our resume, make our GPA look good and, most importantly, learn how to find out place in the mess of it.

If the freshmen have the Freshman Leadership Opportunity, then transfer students need the Transfer Leadership Opportunity and so on. Those are the types of things that allow students to interact and make a name for themselves.

The biggest regret I have about my college experience is never studying abroad. As a transfer student, I’m constantly told how important it is to finish my studies in two years. If the Study Abroad office had made it more convenient for me, I could have seen traveling abroad as a help to getting my degree quicker. I would also have taken it more seriously and not had to focus on fitting in as a transfer student.

I’m proud to be a Wildcat and even prouder to have done it on my own. It will continue to be the highlight of my college career, but either way, you can’t escape asking yourself “what if?”

“What if I didn’t have to do it alone?” or “what if Chico State had actually cared about my college experience?”

<strong>August Walsh can be reached at</strong>

<em>[email protected]</em>

 

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