Hello! My name is Sydney Dungan and I am a Global Bear, BizBear, and yes… a Transfer Bear.“Wait, what? You’re a transfer?”
I get this question a lot because if I didn’t say it, you would probably never guess that I started out at a different university. Since coming to Missouri State as a sophomore, I have become a SOAR leader, joined a social sorority and a professional business fraternity. This is where I belong, and I have never been happier.
However, … it did not come easily.
My freshman year at my old university was one of the hardest years of my life. It was like I had jumped into a pool of opportunities, but I never got used to the water temperature. I was uncomfortable. I did not fit in culturally. The town was too small, and the business school was not meeting my expectations. I tried everything to be happy there. I joined clubs, made friends, volunteered in the community. Even after all of that, I was still deeply unhappy. By the middle of the spring semester I realized that something had to change, or I would drop out of college. That is when I began the process of transferring.
Figure out what you want and be vocal about it!
The decision to switch universities involves a lot more people than just yourself. The hardest part about the whole situation was that I had to explain to my parents that I could not stay at the school that I had begged and pleaded to go to in the first place. Transferring schools means losing scholarships and that can be very hard, especially if your parents are helping you pay for it. The best thing you can do is sit down and have an open, honest conversation. In my case, I had tried everything I could where I was, but for some students it could be as easy as joining a club to make things fit better.
If you talk it over and the decision remains the same, try to figure out what went wrong. Was the school too small? Did you not like the culture? How did you feel about the classes? These are all very important questions when looking for a new university. What you don’t want to do is pick a random place and go there hoping that things will be magically different. You are still going to be the same person, just in a different setting.
When I first looked into Missouri State, I was captivated by Glass Hall. I mean just look at it.
Not to mention, it is AACSB Accredited, which can only be said by 10% of all U.S. Colleges of Business. After touring the building and visiting the rest of campus, I knew in my heart that this is where I needed to be. I applied, was accepted and all of my credits transferred over without a hitch.
The only problem was that I would now be a sophomore, and I only knew one person at the school. Sure, college is mainly about getting a degree but when you are on your own it makes it so much harder to learn. Being a transfer student is like having to socially redo your whole freshman college experience. Except this time, I had no dorm to meet people in or any of the “freshman activities.” It was terrifying. I moved in with two girls I didn’t know and started off my first week on campus as confused as all the freshmen.
Even after I joined my clubs I still felt like I was the odd one out. Everyone I met that was my age seemed to already have their group of friends and I didn’t want to intrude. You see, during the first year of college you experience a lot of “firsts” with your peers and that creates a bond. Many people find their place in college during this year but that obviously didn’t happen for me. Being a transfer means sometimes feeling that you were robbed of the “normal college experience.” I struggled with this a lot. My mental health took a toll and I was caught in a constant cycle of regret.
Don’t be afraid to seek help
The counselors at Magers Health and Wellness Center helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I realized all the good things that I had going for me. While my thoughts were valid, they didn’t have to control me.
“There are no mistakes, only happy accidents”- Bob Ross
Everyone takes a wrong turn at one point or another. Some choose the wrong major, others the wrong roommate; I chose the wrong college. It is okay because being a transfer student means that no matter what life throws at you, you can and will adapt. It is all about how you respond to the situation.
If you are an incoming transfer student, please join something, even if it scares you. I would not be where I am today if I had not gotten involved. Missouri State is overflowing with opportunities to grow personally and professionally but that can’t happen if you stay in your comfort zone.
I went so far outside of my own comfort zone that I ended up in France doing a semester abroad! Missouri State opened my eyes to the world, and it can for you too.
If I could go back the only thing I would have changed is where I lived during my first year here. Monroe and Sunvilla apartments are great on-campus options to make your transition a little easier. It would have been nice to be close to my classes and to have the opportunity to live near lots of other upperclassmen. Just make sure you look into your housing options carefully before you make the move to Springfield.
This is a great community, an even better university, and above all else…I am PROUD to be a BEAR!