OPINION: The Emotional Surprise of Transferring From Community College to a University

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As I and other Bellevue College students begin to transfer from BC and enter traditional four-year universities, the societal and personal emotional response is much greater than I anticipated. Fellow community members have expressed their delight in my transferring to a four-year university and their approval of my decision to attend community college after high school. To me, this reaction from society as a whole is unexpected. When I began writing for The Watchdog, I wrote an opinion article titled, “The Value We Bring” reflecting on my discomfort with the demeaning narrative that those who attend community college are in some way less than others. Now that I have the opportunity to attend a four-year university, the perspectives of those around me have shifted from concern to admiration.  

Even more surprising, is my emotional conflict about transferring. I did not expect to feel so connected to Bellevue College. I did not expect my time at BC to affect my sense of personhood to the extent that it has.  

At BC, I have transformed into a self-assured person; unlike the woman I entered as. Although much of my BC education was virtual, the connections and stability I developed in both myself and my path have provided a sense of renewal in my perspective on the value of education. I am, once again, excited to learn. This enthusiasm for learning has been a driving force behind my resistance to old ways that force me to do better for myself and others. When I entered BC, this was something that I felt I had lost.  

This transitionary period of transferring to a university has highlighted the different perspectives and experiences I carry with me as a college student. The paths of those who attend community college often reflect the vicissitudes of life. However, often forgotten is the truth that the stories we carry as we transfer to a more traditional path ameliorate the lives of ourselves and those around us. These stories of resilience and perseverance can make us feel isolated in our experiences, but they provide new outlooks that bring the communities with which we belong closer together. I urge those who are transferring from community colleges to traditional universities throughout the country to carry the power of this truth with them as they embark on unfamiliar academic journeys.  

I am grateful for my time at The Watchdog. I am grateful to have been a student at Bellevue College. I am grateful to have found my voice.