As most of you who are following the blogs may know, I am a transfer student. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about how I went from community college to being a part of Biola’s community, and what that transition was like!
I spent two years at community college back home in Northern California. Though the classes changed, every semester generally seemed the same; I would take a full load of classes, commute to school every day, and spend the rest of my time working and doing homework. Community college was a good time to explore my educational options and to connect/reconnect, with people that I knew of throughout grade school and high school but did not know well.
Coming into Biola after community college was such an experience of culture-shock. Here, there was a real sense of community. It’s not that there was not community at my previous school, but in community college, what I have observed, is that everyone seems to really keep to themselves. People are comfortable because they are living at home and they have longtime friends around them, so often times people will not try and make it a point to reach out and make new friends. Coming into university really contrasted this environment: here, people have moved from all over the country (or even the globe) and have left behind so much of that familiarity. Here, people go to class together, eat in the same caf, go to the same gym, and live together. It is such a different experience than when I would only go to school to go to class then leave right away. Here, school is home–and the students (and even some of the staff) are your neighbors.
It is a weird transition, being a transfer student. It can initially feel like you are on the outskirts: you come in as a sophomore or a junior and it feels like everyone already knows everyone else. It can feel like people have already made all of their friends and like you are at a little bit of a disadvantage. But fear not! That is not the case. You are just as much a part of the Biola community, whether you came in as a freshman or a transfer. The best advice I can give to you transfers out there is to get plugged in as soon as you can! When I first transferred in, I applied for several jobs and signed up for a bunch of clubs. I made it a point to introduce myself to as many people as I could. It may be a little uncomfortable feeling like “the new kid” again, but out of this discomfort you can push yourself to grow. Explore all you can, both on and off campus: I definitely got lost on the way to our school’s cafeteria more times than once during my first week here, but that’s how you learn. Be open to all the newness that is coming your way!