Over the summer I found out I was officially transferring from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana back to a school in my hometown, UIC.
Admittedly, at first I was not excited about the idea and spent the final weeks of my summer moping. However, after being at UIC I realized I had wasted so much time and energy mourning a school I no longer miss. I found that the key to a smooth and happy transition was to completely immerse myself at UIC in every way possible.
First, I met with multiple counselors rather than one, in order to find the best possible match for me. I ended up clicking with a counselor at LARES who helped me navigate through the notoriously confusing DARS report, choose my classes and eventually switch out my classes. Finding an adviser who you bond with is incredibly important, not just for transfer students, but any student who may be struggling to adjust because they offer undying support for you both emotionally and academically.
One of my next steps was to go to the Student Employment Office, which offers tons of opportunities for you to not only get a job on campus, but also to start networking with staff and faculty who could possibly help you beyond your undergrad years. I was fortunate enough to hear about a last-minute job opening and receive the position, so trust me when I say this office is truly a great tool to utilize.
I still felt like I needed something to be excited about…possibly not something focused on working or school. I mentioned this to a friend who then told me I should come with her to a “first-step session” at the Study Abroad Office. I know I sound generic when I say this but I have always wanted to study in Europe, and going to that session made me realize I am actually going to make it happen. The presenter told us about all the countries that are accessible to UIC students and the, as he put it, “free money” that will get us there. I am so thankful I went early on because there are countless scholarships available that I can start applying for now, making the possibility of having my entire trip paid for grow. It was exhilarating, but still so far ahead in the future.
I’ve joined clubs and committees, taken advantage of our fantastic recreation center and essentially lived at UIC. If you’re struggling with the adjustment after transferring to UIC, I suggest you try out one of the activities or offices I’ve mentioned because it speeds up the healing process a lot.
I know the struggle of being new to a school and feeling uneasy about it but I promise you that it passes.