Transfer students look back on their first year

The University of San Diego welcomed 1,133 freshmen and 369 transfer students to campus in the fall semester. Now that the school year is coming to an end, these transfer students are reflecting on their first year on campus.

For many students, the first year at a new school is a whirlwind of meeting different people, exploring their new home, and adjusting to a demanding college life. Due to resources offered at USD, the transition seems to be made easier for some students.

Freshman Tara Zueli, who moved from New Jersey to attend USD, noted her first year experience has been nothing but positive.

“I am very happy with my choice to come here, even though it is so far away from home,” Zeuli said. “Now that I have experienced Southern California, I could not imagine going to school anywhere else.”

For Zueli, entering the land of the unknown wasn’t a source of anxiety.

“I think everyone on campus is very accepting,” Zueli said. “It is not very intimidating for new students at all.”

One of the major factors attributing to Zueli’s fast assimilation to USD life was joining the club lacrosse team.

“I was able to find people who share my same interests,” Zueli said. “It almost feels like a second family.”

During the first two weeks of each semester, USD holds the Alcalá Bazaar that provides students the opportunity to get involved with various student organizations and clubs. Students find a wide variety of organizations that fits almost every interest. Extracurricular activities include club sports teams, Greek life organizations, faith-based communities, and language and culture clubs. USD gives each new student the chance to have a similar experience as Zueli by offering these resources.

Although still technically first-year students on campus, transfer students might have a different perspective on their first year than freshmen do.

Junior Madison Samuels transferred to USD this fall after attending University of Arizona for two years.

“USD has lived up to my expectations,” Samuels said. “I am extremely happy with my decision to transfer.”

Samuels said she appreciates that USD tries the best they can to accommodate transfer students during their big transition.

In her first few weeks at USD, Samuels was a little hesitant with her decision to transfer. She said she felt nervous and lost not seeing familiar faces on campus. However, after enrolling in a transfer preceptorial class, that changed. Preceptorial classes are typically offered exclusively to first year students as a way to get to know other new students in an academic setting.

“I made some of my closest friends in that class,” Samuels said.

Additionally, the transfer orientation was a big contributor to Samuels’ happiness at USD. Students come to campus a few days before classes officially start to participate in a transfer orientation. Here, they are introduced to all things USD to prepare them for the upcoming year. They are also given the chance to connect with other students during communal lunches and group bonding activities.

“I was able to meet many other transfer students at this time,” Samuels said.

After meeting at orientation, Samuels has been able to remain close with all those people and even calls some of them her best friends.

Sophomore Sofia Sanchez had always wanted to attend USD, but decided to go across the country to experience the East Coast for a year and then reapply.

“I thought it would be pretty hard coming in as a transfer,” Sanchez said. “Everyone had already made their friend groups during freshman year, so they already had their friends.”

Although it was intimidating being new on campus, Sanchez was determined to make it work because it had been her dream school for so long.

“I think what helped me the most was being open to meeting new people,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez also tried to stay on campus as much as possible, as opposed to going straight to her dorm room after class.

“By staying on campus, I was able to meet more people and get to know the school better,” Sanchez said.

One of the privileges of attending a small, private school like USD is the many on-campus activities that occur during the week. It seems like there is always an event on campus for people to attend, bringing students together over free food, discussions, and the opportunity to meet new people and try new things. Just being on campus can allow students to familiarize themselves with the USD environment and other students.

It seems that USD tries to minimize the challenge that first year students face by offering resources to aid in a smooth transition. Whether you are coming in as a first time student or a transfer, there are plenty of opportunities to make friends and get involved at USD.

By Taryn Beaufort, Asst. Opinion Editor