“Give it time.” “Just put yourself out there.” “Everyone feels this way starting college.” 

These are common sentiments I heard during my first semester of college at Marquette University. While expressed with good intentions, these statements made me insecure in my ability to gauge my own situation.

I transferred from Marquette to the University of Maryland after just one semester because I did not feel connected to the larger Marquette community and could not see the benefit in traveling so far from home for an experience that left me unfulfilled. I was attracted to this university because of its academic stature, campus atmosphere and proximity to my hometown of Baltimore, allowing me to receive in-state tuition.

Switching universities can be intimidating, from transferring credits to finding housing to acclimating to an entirely new environment, it is a process unique to every individual.

The pre-transfer advising program at this university was an integral part of my application experience. The people there were communicative and responsive, offering resources and virtual information sessions throughout the process. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been granted admission to a university that made my transition period so seamless. I was interested to see how my experience compared to that of my peers.

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Sarah Johnson said she didn’t consider this university when applying to colleges her senior year because she wanted to go out of state.

“I thought it was too close to home. I [thought] I needed to go somewhere far away,” she said. “But as soon as I got out of state I was like, ‘this is definitely not for me.’”

The sophomore communications major transferred from James Madison University because she felt the atmosphere at this university better supported her academic and social wellbeing. She said she wishes she made the decision earlier. 

“I wanted to transfer my first semester of college. I was not happy where I was but my parents told me to stick it out,” Johnson said. “I was miserable.” 

While the prospect of adapting to a new university made her apprehensive, Johnson said that the transfer office made her transition smooth. Her experience at this university exceeded expectations and gave her the college experience she originally yearned for, she said. 

The initial urge to attend school out of state was echoed by Bailey Farley, a sophomore English major who transferred from the University of Delaware. 

“I feel like there was a lot of pressure about branching out and just trying to be in a new place [and] meet new people,” Farley said. “I kind of wanted to separate myself from a lot of the people in my high school.” 

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After a year at the University of Delaware, Farley said she could not acclimate to the community.

“I would drive back after a weekend at home or after breaks and I would feel regret,” she said.

Farley found community at this university through Greek Life and her off-campus job at Looney’s Pub. Her advice for students considering transferring is to trust their gut and not sacrifice their wellbeing by forcing something that simply isn’t meant to be.

Carter Kinch, a sophomore enrolled in letters and sciences, spent the first three semesters of his undergraduate career completing an associate degree at Harford Community College. He said he is glad he attended community college before coming to this university.

“I came here a little ahead of all my other friends,” he said. “I feel like I have a different… look at UMD compared to my friends who have been here the whole time. Makes me more appreciative.”

Reflecting on my undergraduate career so far, I think my time at Marquette only made me more appreciative of the experience Maryland has provided me. Marquette is an excellent university, but it simply wasn’t for me, and that is OK.

There is nothing wrong with prioritizing your mental and social contentment. While the initial transition to college can be jarring and uncomfortable for everyone, you should never dismiss your experience as invalid if you are truly unhappy in your environment.