Three weeks ago my only (school-related) worry in the world was getting accepted to all the colleges I had applied to. I had a lot of options, and after my first letter in the mail came with a polite rejection, I was on the fence. I was worried about simply getting INTO a school. So once my top choices began to send me resounding acceptances, I should have been ecstatic. But an entire new type of worry and fear set in instead. A fear of making decisions. Of making THE decision.
What if I went to the wrong school?
What if I packed up my bags, pooled my savings into the most expensive school – themed bed comforter I could find, got to the school I had picked, and hated every blade of grass on campus? What if the change in atmosphere made me break out, and I turned into this acne-speckled nerd for two whole years that couldn’t make a single friend?
Or my teachers were awful, and they hated me. Not to mention the cost of simply living there could end up being more money then I could afford to spend, even if I got a part-time job. Oh no. What if I couldn’t get a JOB?
Transferring out of a community college to a four-year university is bit different then choosing your first and only college straight out of high school. There are more factors to be explored, more papers to be signed, and more credits you need to transfer with you to the college of your pick. You could be moving to a completely new neighborhood – a completely different state – and the idea of starting from scratch without anyone you know can be suffocating to the bravest of dedicated students.
More terrifying is being accepted to the school of your dreams. Especially if that school happens to be $40,000 a year or higher. Loans, FAFSA, grants, months of scholarship searching and talking to the counselor that is right for you – one that actually pays attention to your needs, doesn’t simply try and pressure you or sell you into possibly making the wrong decision.
Should you go to a school that gets you a degree? Should you go to a school that will get you the connections that you need? Or is a technical institution the way to go – getting all your experience first-hand and on the job, IN the field?
Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to go and no definite answer to that – what you need to remember is that no single decision makes or breaks your future and your life. You make a choice, and if it doesn’t work for you, you make another one that will get you where you need to be.
A lot of students I’ve talked to and a lot of friends who have shared with me their nerves about transferring seem to have gotten the idea that picking a prospective school is about the equivalent of signing their souls over to their chosen college in contract form.
Once they are there, the way they see it, they are there to stay.
In reality, some students pick a school and that school ends up not being the right place for them. So they transfer over to a different university. And those students are WAY happier, WAY more dedicated, and FAR more satisfied then if they had stayed.
It may have taken me a few weeks to drink in these notions myself, calm down and really eye my situation, but after a breather I decided that there had been no need to be so worried, so scared to make the “wrong” choice for my next step in education. I just need to follow my instincts, listen to my heart, and no matter where I end up or if that place isn’t for me, I know that I will find my way through the mysteries of uncertainty and find a way to make my dreams come true. Welcome to transfer season. Don’t forget to breath.