Transfer students: Not quite freshmen again
By: Jefferson Fosbender (Economics '15), originally posted at https://www.uni.edu/prp/blog/ on 9/22/2014
I used the word “quite” in the title of this blog intentionally. While we bring a wide variety of unique experiences to the table, for those of us who transfer to UNI from another institution, there is still so much more that we can learn from the new community and culture in which we are now immersed. I am a senior at UNI majoring in Business Economics. After going to Iowa Central Community College for two years and transferring to UNI as a junior, I quickly found that the transition was nothing like I thought it would be. With that, I am going to challenge my fellow transfer students to allow yourself to see beyond any preconceived notions towards “university life” and make the most of the time you have here as a Panther. Before long it will become clear that, even though it may officially be your first year at the University of Northern Iowa, you are not quite freshman again…
Which brings me to my next point: You’re not quite freshman again. One can’t deny that, while transfer students have a number of college experiences that will make their transition a little easier, certain aspects cannot be avoided such as change in location, change in culture, and even a necessary change in mindset. Here are some tips that I have for all of my fellow transfer students looking to make as smooth of a transition as possible, not only into UNIBusiness, but onto UNI’s campus as a whole:
- Join Student Organizations: There are almost 300 student organizations on campus, many of which are geared towards specific majors within UNIBusiness. These are great avenues to take in order to meet students and faculty with the same interests as you while having fun doing it. Further, getting involved can send the message to your department and peers that you are dedicated to your field and that you want to enhance your leadership within your major.
- Meet Your Professors: Going into your instructors’ offices and simply introducing yourself can go a long way if ever you need help throughout the semester. In addition to introducing myself, I’ve personally found it very helpful to ask whether or not there is any advice that they could give to someone new to their class. Again, these are excellent resources that are only here to help better your experience.
- Utilize the Resources: Within UNIBusiness there are a ton of resources available to students. On the ground floor, in CBB 5, there are offices for both the Academic Advisors and Career Services. These staff members are here to help match students and their interests with the academic paths that will take them to their career goals. If nothing else, here you will find a support system that is just as enthusiastic about your success, if not more so, as you are.
- Go Above and Beyond: Finally, it’s not just enough to come into a four-year university with a year or two of experience. You have to prove your capabilities by taking initiative. We have the opportunity to create a reputation amongst transfer students as prepared, dedicated individuals. It takes a lot of effort, but it is worth it in the end.
That is why I say, “Not Quite Freshmen Again”. We have one or two years of college under our belts during which we have developed skills to prepare us for the next step. When utilizing those skills and putting yourself in situations where they can help you and the people around you progress, your “seniority” will not go unnoticed. However, my advice to you is to not be so quick to give up that “freshman curiosity” and willingness to try new things. Don’t let your expectations and knowledge of what you think you know crowd out that sense of adventure that comes with transferring to a university and beginning a new stage in your life.