Imagine that it’s your first day of school all over again. You’re unfamiliar with the campus, the people, the city. You’re nervous but excited to start a brand new adventure. Other apprehensive freshmen appear just as lost and disheveled, except you’re a sophomore, and this isn’t your first day of college – just your first day at Tulane.
Every year, Tulane welcomes around 175 transfer students joining in either the fall or spring semester. These students make up approximately 2% of the undergraduate class, an insignificant number, but a significant part of the Tulane community, nonetheless. Before starting school, Tulane offered a five-day orientation featuring group activities with other transfer students. Most events were extensions of the freshman orientation. Slightly awkward icebreakers slowly led to friendships, and some even found their permanent friend groups within the transfer community.
Along with the abnormalities of Covid life, this year’s unprecedented challenges put transfer students at an even greater disadvantage. While a new residential housing complex is expected to open in the fall of 2022, a housing shortage prevented any sophomore transfers from living on campus. While all returning students must live in dorms, transfers scrambled to find last minute off-campus housing and roommates. For most transfer students, this posed a problem for finding friends outside of class while already hindered by enrolling a year later than their peers.
As a transfer student, I’d like to say that despite these stumbling blocks, the transition can be made easier by simply changing your perspective. I started feeling grateful for the upsides of off-campus living: a full kitchen, single bedrooms, and a beautiful walk to campus every day. Although meeting people may not be as accessible as walking to the next-door dorm, it pushed me to join clubs and groups that I might not have considered had I lived on campus.
Although the transition was less than seamless for many transfer students, the Tulane community offers enough support and involvement opportunities to adjust and eventually feel like an integral part of the student body.
Cover Photo: Gyle Israel