The Orion

First-year versus transfer experiences

Jose Olivar

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First-year and transfer athletes go through many of the same experiences. A new school in a new place, not to mention a new team to fit into. But what are the differences?

The Orion talked to both transfer and first-year athletes about this transition. Here’s what they had to say:

What is the most challenging part of being a student-athlete at Chico State?

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Chico State cross country runner Steven Martinez. Photo courtesy Chico Wildcats.


“It’s not that much different; juggling the work and the athletics. I did it all in high school and I did it at Mesa. So I mean the transition of balancing, I have gotten the hang of it, so it’s been pretty simple, pretty easy.” – Steven Martinez, men’s cross-country, junior transfer from Mesa Community College in San Diego

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Nicole Anthony, women's cross-country runner. Photo courtesy Chico Wildcats.


“It’s all about time management. As long as you come home from practice and you’re like, ‘Okay, I have to get my homework done, I have to study, I can’t get side tracked,’ then you’re okay. It was hard for me at first. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I have so much stuff to do, and it’s crazy!’ coming from high school, because you know everything is handed to you in high school. And so coming here was like wow, you’re on your own, so as long as you have time management, you’re okay.” – Nicole Anthony, women’s cross-country, first-year from Castro Valley High School in Castro Valley

What has been the most challenging adjustment?

“Just the area. I mean I had some friends that go here, so it wasn’t too bad, but making friends, getting to know the teammates. It wasn’t too hard, maybe it took me a week or two to get adjusted, then I was fine. If I would have came as a freshman, it would be 10 times harder than a junior, because I have two years of college under my belt already, and I knew what to expect.” – Tanner Giddings, men’s basketball player, junior transfer from Fresno State in Fresno

“Being on my own, living and kind of fending for myself, like making my own meals, taking care of my stuff and organization, making sure you get all your work done, getting ready for practice and all that kind of stuff.” – Natalie Valenzuela, women’s basketball player, first-year from Chaminade College Preparatory School in Canoga Park, Los Angeles

How has the team been able to help with the adjustments?

“Obviously they all had to go through the adjustment when they were new to being away, so everyone’s been through it and everyone says it gets easier. As the year goes on, you get used to it, as the week goes on, it gets easier, and it’s already gotten easier for me. They’ve all been really helpful with just being supportive and inviting everyone to do stuff, and go out and hang out, and all that fun stuff. We went on a hike to the flumes last weekend and that was really fun. Just staying busy, they help you stay busy and stuff like that.” – Brooke Bowen, women’s basketball player, junior transfer from Clark Community College in Vancouver, Washington

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“The older guys are wonderful! We have Sutter Dining. We’re supposed to be eating at the diner every night, but nights before games, some guys will cook some pasta, cook some meat, get some protein, get some carbs and it’s just nice. A couple of guys are in skating distance. I just skate to their house, bring some pasta and they’ll cook it up for me because they have the apartment and they’re just so comforting, and I tell them, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll do your dishes if you cook me some meals,’ and they don’t mind it because they don’t want to do their dishes, so I love it. They’re just open arms. Whenever I need something I just ask one of the older guys. They have cars, they got a house, so it’s pretty nice.” – Sasha Peranteau, men’s soccer player, first-year from Poway High School in Poway

How is your experience different here compared to where you were a year ago?

“I guess different obviously just being away from home, but the similarity is the team bonding. The relationship I have made so far here, they have been really good. I mean, it took a lot longer for me to get to know people back home, but coming here I feel like I’m really part of the team in just like a week or two. I just think the team camaraderie here is so much better and it’s helped me out a lot.” – Martinez

“Conditioning in basketball is way more intense, but everyone has the same goal as opposed to high school. Sometimes people wouldn’t be as motivated, but here everyone is motivated to do well, everyone is motivated to even just get better themselves and for the team, and everything is for the team, so that’s really nice.” – Whitney Branham, women’s basketball, first-year from West Ranch High School in Santa Clarita

Why did you choose Chico State?

“When I played at Seattle Pacific, I actually played here. We had a tournament, so I had been here, and I remember seeing the campus and thought it was super pretty. The atmosphere in the gym when we played here was awesome, and I thought it was fun, because you have a bunch of fans that are just true fans that live in the community.” – Bowen

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Emily Schall, women's cross-country runner. Photo courtesy Chico Wildcats.


“As soon as I came to look at the campus, I just fell in love with the brick buildings, and just the feeling that you get when you’re on campus is so peaceful and pretty and different from where I’m from. I’m from San Diego, so it’s kind of like more nature-themed out here. As soon as I met the coach – and I didn’t get to meet the team – but I saw how they interacted, and I just knew that this was the right place as soon as I was here. I knew it was the right fit for me.” – Elyssa Schall, women’s cross-country, first-year from Mt. Carmel High School in San Diego

Jose Olivar can be reached at [email protected] or @jpu_olivar on Twitter.

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First-year versus transfer experiences