Finally, you did it. You got into the University of Michigan, and this is cause for celebration. After two and a half years of being envious of every game day picture your friends posted on their Instagrams, now is your time to shine. Community college was rough — the lack of a real campus, the constant checking to see if the credits would transfer — and going through the application process again was a real drag.
Now it’s over, and I’m here to tell you about my first-hand account as a junior transfer student.
First of all, my orientation experience wasn’t great. I had to be in Ann Arbor at the Michigan Union at 8 a.m. sharp. Now, that’s not a big deal, except for the fact that there is literally nowhere to park in Ann Arbor. Plus, the stupid parking meters were just way too advanced for me. Whatever happened to just using coins? I ended up walking in about 10 minutes late because of the lack of parking. It would have been nice of the University to give the newbies a warning about the parking (or lack thereof) situation.
Next, all of the transfer students were put into a room with two student tour guides. First, they gave us a run-down of the day ahead, then taught us the fight song (which I still don’t have a handle on), and finally the students who had to take language placement exams (like me) went off into another room, while everyone else toured the campus. My fellow transfer acquaintances and I, who were also taking language placement exams, were told we’d be toured around the campus later on. Spoiler alert: The tour never happened.
Once the exams were finished, we met back up with the other students. Again, we were put into a room, but this time we had a group of students who acted out what it was like to be a transfer student at the University. They were fairly good and probably the best part of the day, aside from the free lunch. Later on, when it was finally time to schedule classes, I went to go and meet with my advisor and was quickly informed she was ill. Now what? I waited about half an hour until the leaders decided whom I’d be reassigned to.
Once reassigned (side note: my advisor is amazing), we attempted to sign up for some classes. Long story short, the system crashed and because we tried to wait it out, I missed my opportunity to walk around campus. To sum it up, orientation ended up being no help at all. In fact, it made me more stressed because I didn’t know my way around campus, I had to figure out how to do scheduling on my own and there was really no time allotted to meet the other transfer kids.
After the winter holidays came to a close, it was finally time for me to move out of my family home for the first time, and into my new college home. I had a feeling of excitement and shellshock. Suddenly, I was hit with a whole new set of responsibilities. First of all, trying to navigate my way across the campus to get my bearings (because I didn’t get a tour) was one of the most confusing parts. Why in the world are Haven Hall, Mason Hall, Angell Hall and Tisch Hall all in the same building? What’s an MLB? Why do people keep calling the library UGLi? Since when is Yost an ice arena, and not a breakfast place? These were a few of the many questions that would circulate in my mind on a day-to-day basis.
Walking into a 200-person lecture hall for the first time was intimidating. The teacher had to speak with a microphone. I’ve never experienced any classroom environment so intense. It’s clear to me that there are two types of students—those who are incredibly attentive and those who sleep through the whole lecture. I’d like to say that I’m the first type of student, but I’d be lying. Don’t get me wrong, I try my best to give my full attention to the professor, but I can’t deny the fact that on more than one occasion, I’ve slipped in and out of sleep.
Luckily, all of my professors and classes this semester are fantastic. Having said that, I wish someone had warned me about the amount of reading that’s required for each class. Stupidly, I signed up for English and history classes only. I keep telling my parents, not only will I be paying back loans for years, but I’ll also be catching up on all of my readings.
I’ve talked enough about readings, classes and the confusion/frustration of it all. The last thing I want to touch on is the topic of making friends — an intimidating topic. First of all, making the move into a house where three out of the four girls were in the same sorority was a little scary. I was pretty nervous and felt like a total outsider. These girls had known each other for a long time. They’ve lived together for at least one full semester, so how will they act toward a new girl? Not only am I a “new girl” but I’m also someone who is not into Greek life. Are they going to be OK with that? Are they the type who are way too invested in the sorority? Do they disapprove of non-sorority girls? These questions were weighing heavily on my mind before I met my new housemates. I mean, we’re juniors, will they even try to befriend me, or am I just going to be someone they live with? Lucky for me, the girls I live with are awesome. They were so welcoming and were always offering to include me in their plans. What a relief it was to realize I’d be living with such cool people.
As for making friends outside of the house, it’s been a little tricky, and I blame part of it on the gross, cold winter weather. Who really wants to be outside and social when it’s 15 degrees outside and snowing? I do have to take some of the blame and admit that I could be trying harder to put myself out there, but I also have to say it’s harder than I thought. I’ve snagged some phone numbers here and there, and I’ve even hung out with some people outside of class. Slowly, I’m making progress.
Coming to the University is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Although it comes with challenging academics and lots of work, the payoff is worth it. Being on a real college campus is so exciting, especially for someone coming from a small community college. It’s been a little difficult and I hope the next group of transfer students have the opportunity to attend a better orientation. Other than the unfortunate orientation process that I experienced, Michigan has been awesome. I love that it’s located in the heart of Ann Arbor, I love everyone’s enthusiasm for their school, the buildings are beautiful and I couldn’t picture myself anywhere else. Working my ass off to get here — still working my ass off to stay here — was a challenge like none other.
Being a junior transfer student, at first, felt a little weird. Now, I’m happy to say that being here and being a fellow Wolverine feels just like home.