This time last year, I was a new incoming transfer student at Southern Nazarene University (SNU). I was excited and nervous all at once to be a part of a new school for the remaining two years of my college career.
I quickly had to learn how to find my place in the midst of a sea of freshmen as a person who has already navigated the anxieties of attending college for the first time. And as a way of discovering how to succeed in this new transition, I wrote an article for The Echo about the hurdles that stood in the way of me feeling like I truly fit in at SNU.
But I am here to tell you, from one transfer to another, it does get easier. I will not lie and say that it didn’t take time to find my place on campus–it took me until my second semester. You must be intentional about putting yourself in places where you can meet both new and returning SNU students, which is something that Misty Jaggers instills in incoming students every fall during NSI.
Take advantage of the tools that SNU provides you with. Your NSI groups were made up of other transfer students for a reason (shout out to the 2018 NSI Family Group 23). While I am not in contact with every person from my NSI group, they are the people who got me through my first semester here, and they are the ones that I wave at when I am walking around campus.
Use the classes in your major to your advantage. I am an English major, and although we are a dying breed, the English majors are my buds. Go to events and clubs that that pertain to your major. You may not end up going to that club consistently all year, but it is a great starter place to meet new people in your department.
As a transfer, you likely are not in many general education classes anymore, so you don’t have as many opportunities to meet people outside of your major–except for the required religion classes, of course.
This is the purpose of campus events. Student Government Association (SGA), Residence Life, Student Services, and several other departments across campus create campus-wide events that bring students together to hang out with their friends as well as to meet new people. Those events are especially to your benefit as a transfer student.
The place that has helped me to meet the most people, however, has been my church. When I first got here, my suitemates invited me to attend college group with them at Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene (OKC First). I encourage you to find a church that you love. We are in the Bible belt, so there certainly isn’t a shortage of them to choose from.
Many of the Nazarene churches in the Bethany area, including the Fellowship, Bethany First Church (BFC), and OKC First, have college groups with SNU students. Going to OKC First introduced me to a room full of SNU students who I would not have otherwise crossed paths with on campus.
It is easy to get anxious about the fact that the people in your year have already made friends with one another. I certainly did.
But as Misty Jaggers said in the interview I had with her a year ago, “You have to be really intentional to put yourself in spaces and places to build relationships with students, because often times when you’re transferring in, friend groups have already been formed based on similar interests, and living spaces, and all those things that happened early in a student’s experience at SNU.”
Be intentional, put yourself in spaces where you can meet new people, and remember that there are plenty of other transfer students who have done it before.