By: Dorie Triplett
Being a transfer and commuter student here at SU tends to put me and a few others at a bit of a disadvantage, don’t you think? If you put it harshly, I am alienated because I don’t reside on campus. One could say I’m not getting the full college experience since I don’t live here 24/7.
Being new at this school makes me slightly nervous because I don’t have many friends on campus (I do happen to know like two people from my time at Lord Fairfax).
But I guess what I’m trying to say is that making friends can be challenging.
For example, just the other day I was walking out of class to go home. I noticed a group of kids hanging out by the gazebo playing loud jazz music and tossing some frisbees around. I just stood there admiring from afar, wishing I could join them. What was I going to do? Awkwardly walk up to them, like a freak with no friends? Absolutely not – that would be way too embarrassing.
I’m curious to know if any other commuter and/or transfer students feel the same way I do. Or am I just too paranoid? Do they feel as worried as I do about missing out? Possibly because we don’t live here and we didn’t spend our first two years of college here.
I think it’s worth mentioning that the obvious solution would be to join clubs, join work study, and eventually you’ll become friends with people by default. Right?
According to Kelsey Szymanski, our transfer counselor here on campus, this is exactly what we should do. Kelsey is an excellent source of information for all of the events that us transfer students can attend.
A big part of Kelsey’s job is to help “bridge the gap” for students’ transition to SU. In fact, Kelsey and a few other counselors implement “Transfer Connections” for this very purpose. This is a great opportunity to get involved with other students that are in the same situation, and maybe learn a few things about attending this university.
It was comforting to hear from Kelsey how hard it can be for transfer and commuter students. When she acknowledged the internal struggle of having to make an effort to leave the house, I was beyond relieved.
I talked to some other students that are in the same boat as I am and it was interesting to get different perspectives. Not entirely to my surprise, they didn’t seem as concerned with making friends on campus as I was. They made good points that since we are transfer and commuter students, we already have connections with the community outside of this university. This makes it unnecessary for us to be totally dependent on making friendships as a transfer/commuter, like one would be when they move onto campus as a freshman.
It was refreshing to hear them talk about how it really comes down to different lifestyles, personalities and mindsets. Us transfer/commuter students just have different priorities such as saving money or taking opportunities in communities outside of Shenandoah University.
So- in reality, moving your feet, getting in your car and ultimately being forced to explore inside and outside SU might not be that big of a disadvantage after all.
If you see me around campus, don’t be afraid to say hi! I would love to hear if you think about the same struggles as I do. I’ll be on the hunt for how we can promote inclusivity for all students at Shenandoah!