The Tale of a Transfer Student: How to Make the Transition

Haidee Cardoso, a current student at the University of Illinois Springfield, transferred from Black Hawk College this past winter. She was kind enough to share her experience of transferring from a community college to a four-year school and provide advice for future and current transfer students.

How did you decide that you were going to transfer to Springfield?

I wanted to experience an environment where I wasn’t with my family the whole time because I had never experienced that before. I wanted to know what it would be like being on my own doing things for myself and not for others. I just really wanted a change of scenery. I got tired of being in the same place my whole life. I got tired of being in a routine the whole time. That was a big factor on why I wanted to transfer.

What is it like living on a college campus compared to living at home?

You have three options: you can be in a dorm, apartment, or a townhouse. The dorms are exclusively for freshmen and sophomores. The apartments and townhouses are for juniors and seniors. Townhouses are a little more expensive than apartments are. The classes are very different too. They’re higher-level and more towards your major. Of course, you’re going to have your (prerequisites). However, since I transferred from Black Hawk, I (got) that out of my way so I wouldn’t have to worry about that. I think (the only prerequisite I took) was my biology class, otherwise everything else was above 300 level. Also, the teachers tend to be more (interactive with their students). They do seem to care more about their students in that they’re more interested in trying to help you the best they can, whereas at Black Hawk, not every teacher was like that. For the most part, they didn’t seem like they cared. At least that’s the vibe I got from Black Hawk. There’s a difference with more people (being) on campus (at the University of Illinois Springfield). Younger people, that’s for sure. There was a class of mine (with) an older gentleman of about seventy-something years old. It’s still a pretty diverse campus. This campus is in the outskirts of the city, whereas Black Hawk is in the city. (Both campuses) are about the same size.

Is there anything that you wish you would have known prior to transferring from a community college?

I wish I would have known where tutoring is. I didn’t learn that until the end of the semester. I didn’t really struggle very much with my classes, but still, it would have been nice to know where that was (at). I wish I would have made more of an effort to talk to people because this past semester, I wasn’t really that interactive, and it sucks because you’re at a school in the outskirts of the city, and we don’t really have anywhere to go. Sometimes, talking to people and hanging out with them does kind of pass the time, and you don’t feel as lonely. The girls I lived with were always working. They were never at home, so I basically had the house to myself the majority of the time.

What was your living arrangement like?

I lived in a townhouse with three other girls. A month and a half into the semester, one of them moved into an apartment, so then (there were) two girls, which was nice because I had that whole floor to myself. I had the bathroom to myself. I didn’t bother anybody there. That doesn’t happen very often. I just got very lucky.

How was that environment different from living with your parents at home?

It was a very big change. It was a quieter environment. At my house, it’s always loud because my dad is a huge neat freak, so he’s always cleaning and always vacuuming. My sister sometimes plays video games and blasts (the volume) up. At my townhouse, it was much quieter since the two girls would be working (and) they always hung out at other people’s townhouses. They were rarely at home. They were there to sleep, eat, and then they would just go do something else. Their schedules were very different. They took more night classes. I took more morning classes. I didn’t really know the third roommate. (That environment) wasn’t as strict. You don’t really have to follow a certain set of rules like I do at my house. You have to push yourself to do things.

Did you ever have any problems with the girls you lived with?

Kind of, but (the) two girls created the problems themselves. I tried to stay out of it. I usually just (locked) my doors, put my soundproof headphones (on), and (didn’t) listen to them. Overall, they were okay. They weren’t terrible suite mates. It could have been a lot worse.

Do you have any advice for college students who are dealing with roommate issues or are going to be living with roommates?

Definitely have an open mind about it. You have to realize that these people come from different cultures and backgrounds. The girl who lived across from me for a month and a half was from India. Sometimes, the house would smell like Indian food. She didn’t eat meat. She talked in a different language on the phone. You just have to be very respectful that people have different backgrounds and cultures, and you just have to be open to it. If there’s ever a conflict with your roommates, just approach them. That’s the best thing you can do. Just approach them and be nice about it. Be calm and friendly. Usually, they’ll be understanding and do the best they can to work with you. If you can’t do it (on your own), call the RA.

Do you have any advice for college students are transferring from one college to another?

Don’t be afraid to meet people. I made the error (of) not talking to people as much as I could, because I’m just a really shy person in general, especially when you put me in a place like that where I know nobody for the most part. Don’t be afraid to talk to people. More or less, they’re probably in the same (situation) as you are.

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Britni Roberts

Britni Roberts

Britni Roberts is a senior at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois pursuing a degree in English Writing. She has been an Editor for the North Central Kindling humor magazine, Assistant News and Arts Editor for the North Central Chronicle newspaper, as well as a DJ and Rock News Reporter for WONC-FM 89.1, her college’s radio station. She enjoys listening to music and spending time with her friends, boyfriend, and his cat Willow.