Transfer students come from a myriad of backgrounds. Some are arriving at OU from larger schools they found overwhelming, others are coming from tiny institutions in the hopes of finding the “college experience” in Athens and others are coming to Ohio University to be closer to home after spending time away.
When I arrived in Athens in the summer of 2018 for orientation, I was a transfer student of the “seeking the college experience” variety. I had spent my freshman year living at home and attending a commuter campus, and for me OU represented everything my previous institution wasn’t. Despite my excitement over arriving in Athens, everything was not smooth sailing and looking back there are several things I would do differently.
Orientation has the potential to shape your first months in Athens. Something incredibly valuable Ohio University offers is the transfer learning community, which allows you to live and take a class with other transfer students; however, decisions about this learning community must be made during BSO. Personally, joining this learning community was the best decision I’ve made in my time at OU (second to joining The Post of course.) It allowed me to meet some of my best friends and navigate the strange limbo of being a transfer student with peers who were also going through it.
Speaking of that transfer limbo, orientation also gives you the opportunity to meet other students who can truly relate to the growing pains of transferring schools. If you’re like most transfer students, you’ll be coming in after only spending a year or two at your previous institution. This means you won’t be a freshman, but you might have a hard time relating to your classmates who have been at OU since the start. You’ll be more of a “freshmore” than anything else. You have a footing when it comes to college life, but many parts of OU will be brand new and with that comes an adjustment period.
However, transferring is not all stress, coming in with a year or so of college under your belt means you have an advantage over coming to OU freshly out of high school. This experience is especially useful when enrolling in classes for the fall during orientation.
Despite what your advisor or orientation leader may tell you, OU is a party school and if you spent time partying at your last school, odds are you’ll be doing it here was well. When you begin enrolling it’s important to be honest with yourself. If you plan on having an active social life, you should consider what course load you can handle. If you hate math and you plan on joining two groups on campus and going out two-to-three times a week, is it really a good idea to take multiple math courses when your schedule allows for only one? Questions like these will help ensure your success and happiness in Athens.
Thankfully, OU is not just a party school. There is a vast selection of academic, professional and social groups available for all students and joining these as soon as you can will make your time spent in Athens fulfilling. Considering many transfer students may not be spending a full four years here, being proactive about getting involved is key. The earlier you can get into a club that’s right for you the better, don’t be scared to ask questions at orientation.
If you keep all of that in mind, orientation will be an incredible experience. Even after the roughly $50,000 of debt, the homesickness and the struggles that college can bring, choosing to transfer here has been the best decision of my life thus far. If you want to find a home here, you will. Remain patient and stay focused and before you know it you’ll forget you were even a transfer student to begin with.
Noah Wright is a senior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Noah? Tweet him @NoahCampaign.