Many students transfer universities at some point, in the hopes of finding greener pastures. And while academically or financially, this makes sense for a lot of people, it can also be a profoundly lonely experience. You made friends during your first year (or semester) and now you need to start all over.
But there are a few simple ways to make the process easier for yourself. If you’re transferring between courses, or moving from a three-year degree to a four-year, here’s how to smooth out the transition:
Go to Orientation
You might think you’ve got the whole university thing down, but attending orientation at your new campus will help you not only learn about your new uni, but meet people in the same boat as you. And it’s never a bad idea to spend more time on campus, learning where things are located (cafés, a counsellor’s office) before you start the semester. Some familiarity will help you get comfortable more quickly.
Take Advantage of Your Network
Unless you’re transferring to an international institution or a tiny arts uni in the middle of a forest somewhere, chances are you’ll know someone at your new school. It could be an old high school acquaintance, someone from your youth group, or the niece of one of your mother’s hairdressers. Whoever it is, take advantage of even those tenuous connections — you might not become best friends with that person, but at the very least they can show you the ropes or introduce you to people you will hit it off with.
Find Your People
One of the biggest things working against you is that you skipped the first year, where many people meet a good friend or two. In fact, a lot of people will have their “people,” and it can seem overwhelming to try to fit into an established group of friends. So you’ll have to find your own.
That might mean joining an athletics club, or one of the hundreds of interest groups on campus. Maybe it’s the school paper or the Quidditch team. Maybe you don’t have a particular hobby at all, but joining something will fill some time and introduce you to new people.
Don’t Spend All of Your Time at the Library
Sure, you’re in school to get an education, but don’t spend so much time studying that you don’t take advantage of everything else uni has to offer. There are countless free events and clubs to attend and join, and uni areas are filled with interesting restaurants, bars, museums and more. Obviously you want to do well in your classes, but don’t overdo it — you’ll regret not taking advantage of your last few years of ample free time if you fill it all with studying. Enjoy yourself.
Keep in Touch With Old Friends
Yes, you’re in a new place and probably busy and stressed, especially at first. But don’t forget to check in with friends from your old school or uni every now and then. Not only will it strengthen your friendships, it can help on those days (and there will be a few of them) when you’re lonely at your new school.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Being the “new” kid, even on a massive campus, can be intimidating — but don’t let nerves keep you from asking for help if you need it. People on campus will likely all be happy to help you get situated or establish how things are done. Your uni will also probably offer services for transfer students, like mental health care or simply networking lunches. Take advantage of all of them.