Transferring…It’s Not the End of the World

Hello! My name is Megan Monack and I am a 2014 graduate of Saint Vincent College in Pennsylvania. I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations and Advertising. I am currently holding an amazing internship with Redstone Presbyterian Senior Care.

I had a different start to my college career because I spent two and a half years at Saint Vincent, instead the traditional four.
Because I transferred schools!
In my experience, within the collegiate world, transferring is a bit of a taboo topic. It’s one of those things that seems like: if we don’t talk about, it doesn’t happen! But it does!
More students than you know make modifications and transfer schools for any number of reasons.
From changes in family situations, financial issues, determining the right school for your major, changing your major entirely, or simply finding the right fit – each reason is as important as the last. All are reasons that students begin to seek elsewhere to discover a better place for themselves.
For me, transferring was a matter of the fact that I truly did not have any idea what I wanted to do with my life. I am unashamed to admit that I was completely lost (not for lack of trying to figure out where I was on the map.) I have spoken to many college undergraduates and graduates alike, who have expressed the same sentiments. Getting your entire college career “right” in one shot is fantastic, but it’s not as common as everyone thinks it is.
When I started my freshman year, I was in a major that my parents believed was the best for me and because I did not have a clue as to the direction that I wanted to take, I simply did what my parents told me to.
During my sophomore year, I decided that it was time for me to make a change. I was unhappy both in my major and my school choice. I told my parents that I would make a move and so during Christmas break, I moved back to my parents’ home. I began to research schools and various majors that interested me. It sounds easy enough, but in reality, I was terrified. I was worried about making a mistake. I kept thinking: do I really want to go through the whole “pick your school” process again? I was the only person that I had known who had transferred from one school to another. Ultimately, I had to stop comparing myself to anyone else and do what I knew was going to be the most beneficial step for me toward my future.
I ended up deciding to attend a school very near to my parents’ home, Saint Vincent College. I decided to major in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and Advertising. Once the semester began, attending Saint Vincent College became the right choice for my situation. It was all of the anxiety around transferring that I wish I could eliminate.
I think one of the real issues with transferring schools is that it is not a topic that is discussed openly and honestly. Granted, I understand that schools aren’t looking for you to transfer from their institution, but if everyone could be a bit more honest about the fact that students transfer and not everyone finds what they are looking for the first time, it might save students and their families a lot of anxiety.
The very nature of transferring is change and a new start. I believe that some students stay where they are for fear that they will feel like the “new kid” all over again. This is simply not true. The great thing about college is that every semester is different and there are so many people who make up various classes over the course of your time in school. It offers the potential for a fairly clean slate, semester after semester, with new professors and classmates. When I started at Saint Vincent, I began in the spring semester with everyone else and no one had any idea that I hadn’t been there the entire time.
During my time at Saint Vincent College, I worked in the Admissions Office as a tour guide and liaison between prospective students, their families, and the college. I met many students and their families who were either looking to transfer or were frightened about the prospect of transferring. I recalled how scared I was and I feel as if I was able to give those students and their families the view from someone who had already climbed that mountain, so to speak. Transferring is not as bad as it sounds, I promise!
I wish that I would have had someone older than myself to tell me all of this when I was early in my undergraduate career. There is an undeniable stigma around the idea of transferring: “Don’t you know what you want to do?!” But I believe that we can alter it by discussing it openly. There is no shame in not knowing exactly what you want to do every moment of your college career. You are working towards a goal and life is a process. Isn’t college supposed to be all about taking chances, making changes, and finding out who it is that we are and who is it what we wish to grow to be?
This is for you, reader friends! If you are thinking about making a change, if you are unhappy, if you are paralyzed with the thought of transferring someplace new – take a deep breath and relax!
If you are thinking about making a move, embrace the chance for change as an adventure! It can be an enormous growing opportunity and you might end up learning so much more from your education than you ever knew was possible.

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