It is pretty fair to say that coming to a new school can represent a fresh chapter in a student’s life. Leaving behind friends who have become like family and your actual blood-related relatives is an intimidating thought. You are about to embark on your journey of finding yourself within a new community.
Now here’s a twist: can you imagine having to do that twice?
That’s exactly what transfer students do.
For some transfer students, the change is not that drastic. Others however make a major change in their search for what is right for them.
I know first hand that transferring can be intimidating because Cabrini was originally not my No. 1 choice for school. For my freshman year, I attended another local school that resembled Cabrini. They too had a strong faith background, housed their campus in a suburban area and had similar enrollment numbers. While I was an active member of their dance company, held a 4.0 GPA and finally attended the same school as my best friend of more than 10 years, something was unsatisfying me and encouraged me to make my move.
I came to Cabrini at the start of the fall semester of my sophomore year and I barely knew anyone. My mom, two uncles and aunt all attended Cabrini back in the ’80s and while it was comforting to know that I had a legacy under my belt, it barely calmed the nerves of leaving behind the memories of my freshman year.
One of the most difficult things to being a transfer that I encountered was the lack of information we were given when we moved in. During my first full day on campus, I received a welcome folder with every take-out menu available on the Main Line, a lecture about how my credits could have possibly transferred over and a key chain flashlight from Public Safety. I didn’t know much of anything about the core classes that I needed to take nor about the online Cabrini One and Cabrini Learn sources. My previous school handled classes and online learning systems in a similar manner but not enough for me to directly relate the two experiences.
I spent my first few weeks of class confused with the difference between the interchangeable Cabrini Learn/Blackboard Learn and Cabrini One and searched for a simple list of what I would need to fulfill my general education requirements. When time came for course registration, I was confused to how my credits transferred over and it was a shock when I learned that I didn’t need just one but two math and science courses.
Thankfully I wasn’t the only person in the dark about this because my one friend, who was also a transfer, felt the same way. We went through it together and with the help of students who had been there since freshman year, everything was cleared up.
After I was more comfortable with the operations of the school, I became as involved as I could so I could get to know Cabrini at a new level. I became a member of the general assembly, now called the assistant programmers, on the Campus Activities and Programming (CAP) Board and helped a friend of mine from high school reinvent the dance company that had taken a tumble. I know it sounds cliche but it couldn’t be more truthful; becoming involved on campus helps you make the most out of your college experience.
Looking back on the challenging beginning of sophomore year, I don’t think I would have thought to see myself where I am today. As a senior, I am an executive board member for CAP Board, president of the Cavalier Dance Company and very active with the communication department. I am also thrilled to see the evolution that the act of transferring has made at Cabrini. When I came for my orientation, I was on my own and tried to blend in with the incoming freshman because I wasn’t sure what else to do.
Well the college’s official welcome week is no longer just for the freshmen.
During the first weekend of the school year, I led the first ever group of transfer students through orientation as they begin their journey at Cabrini.
It wasn’t the easiest experience and everyone’s tale will be different, but I am proud that I was able to beat the overwhelming stigmas that came with coming to a new school. Being able to influence students who recently made the move was an extremely satisfying experience and I am proud to be a self-proclaimed transfer ambassador for Cabrini.