We discussed a lot about preparing for college but what happens after you get in? As a transfer student, this is not my first time attending a university. This is my second time and it feels odd, scary and weird. If you haven’t read my blog before, I mentioned that I dropped out of Sarah Lawrence College after one semester here.

Now, I am a proud LION at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles and I feel good about my decision coming here. Unlike freshmen students, transfer students have gone through the process of registering for classes, understanding the add/drop dates and we know a lot more about college credit than them.

Transfer students add value and experience to the college. Our journey is what has defined us and we can use our story to inspire and help others.

Your path to college is unique, so embrace it. Don’t be ashamed or regret the steps you took to get where you are today. Be happy that you’re finally here.

You made it. You get to start over.

I know how tedious and painful the transfer process was.  All those transfer articulation agreements were a nightmare to read 😛 I know sometimes transfer students dwell on the fact that they are behind college and late than their peers to graduate. However, we also have an advantage.

Transfer students get to take what they learnt as a freshman and use that knowledge to make better decisions the second time around.

My first day of class went well and there are some confessions I wanted to share with you all. I hope I’m not alone!

  •  Confession #1 “I feel old.”

Looking around my classmates I felt old. There were a lot of young people and I’m guessing their ages around 17-18 years old based on their conversations. Thanks to the Transfer BBQ & Orientation I was lucky enough to recognize some other transfer students. We quickly huddled together and started discussing about our classes. Transfer students just get each other! There were a couple of freshmen students who asked me where I was from (very typical) and I told them that I was born and raised in Vietnam and I’m a transfer student from De Anza College. They looked at me like 😮 And started to say how brave I was to come here all alone. That makes me feel really happy because sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit that I came here without family and had to learn everything by myself.

  •  Confession #2 “I hope I belong here.”

I was so nervous about the first day of class. After my SLC drop out experience I just couldn’t afford another one. It’s really a waste of time, energy and money and I just was praying that I would like the school. Feeling nervous didn’t help much. I was anxious because I couldn’t get a feel of the Professor or the class. The night before the first day of class, my mind was racing with so many thoughts like: “Is the workload going to be a lot? Is the teacher going to be strict? Am I going to be okay?”

Whew! Gladly the first day of school went WELL. Everyone was great, I loved the diversity and Professors handed out their syllabus (my favorite part) and I finally got a feel of how the class was going to be. I felt less stressed. As you can see, I like a routine and I like things organized, in a schedule and I hate going with the flow. With a syllabus in my hand for each class, I could see my deadlines and plan around the course calendar. Hehe I like planning my gym time around class schedule so I get my workout in 🙂

  • Confession #3  “I feel lost.”

I thought De Anza College was large for me but coming to university was twice the size. I arrived an hour before class started to deal with parking and once I got a feel of where my classes were located and the best parking spots, I felt at ease. But the first day I felt lost. Even with a campus map in my hand I felt scared because everything is so new to me. I thought coming to campus several times for orientation would make me feel less stressed but not really. Once the first day of school starts it’s real. Summer is over and it’s time to get working. I learnt that you should allow yourself to adjust to the new environment. It takes time. Feeling lost, scared and nervous is normal. You’re on your own now and navigating a big university is like going to a foreign country and not speaking the language. After one week of school, I feel better and I’ve made some friends and got their contacts to exchange notes, hangout spots & etc. so I don’t feel alone.

  • Confession #4  “I  miss my old friends and now I need to make an effort to make new friends”

There are so many people I miss back at De Anza College. I remember starting my first day at De Anza college crying in my car because I felt so ashamed of myself. Like what did I do in high school to get myself here? I was scared of being judged that I even deactivated my Facebook. I even lost friends back in Vietnam because I was going to a community college that wasn’t acceptable or “prestige” in their views. What jerks! I’m glad that my experience showed me who my real friends were. That’s why I love my genuine friends who stuck by me when I was going through a tough time. You guys know who you are and I’m sending you a big hug and kiss from L.A!

Looking back I’m happy I got out of a bad situation and now I am in a better place. It’s OK to switch schools and find something that works for you. You know yourself better than anyone else. Picking the right school is tough, and it’s especially difficult when you’re first generation and you’ve got not guidance. And so sometimes the only way to know is to test the waters. That’s what I did. The first time was horrible. The second time, was great. Focus on making every day the best that you can so you can have a bright future.

Happy Labor Day weekend. Staying indoors with my 1 gallon of water and not going out. It’s 100 degrees outside. I’m doing laundry, cleaning and I think I’m in the mood for baking banana cake or chocolate soufflé this afternoon

Stay safe and a big hug to you all,


Catherine Ha

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