I transferred from Macomb Community College (Go, Monarchs, ha ha!), which is located in Macomb, Michigan. I ended up having three total years at Macomb because of dual enrollment. My high school had early enrollment for community college, so this meant that we could start going there when we were juniors, which is what I decided to do. So it kind of felt like one real year at Macomb, but looking back it was actually a total of three. My current major at Michigan State is Secondary Education, with a major in English and a minor in Psychology, so I started taking elective courses to get those out of the way.
Hmmm . . . the best way to describe why I decided to transfer would be that I was ready to become more independent. I definitely fell in love with the school from the moment I stepped on campus. And there were more things–I’m just trying to think. Oh! I definitely wanted new beginnings, new opportunities, and a far better education than what Macomb could offer me. I did have to transfer to finish my degree. It was really important for me to go the extra mile and get the rest of it finished at Michigan State, as opposed to just settling for an easier and quicker degree at Macomb.
There are a lot of differences I would say between Macomb and Michigan State. First of all, the class size. There are much smaller classes at Macomb, and just less people in general. Professors are definitely more engaged here at MSU than they were at Macomb, and I think the main thing I can think of would be that the counseling is far different at Michigan State. The counselors here have your best intentions at heart and really want you to get everything you can out of the university. At Macomb, they always seemed rushed and wanted to get you out, almost like the didn’t care. I care a lot about my education and the classes I have, so I visited the counselors a lot and was always really surprised at how uninterested they tended to be in actually helping me. It seemed like they almost had an unspoken goal to just get you out in five minutes or less without really caring about what you had to say.
I think the main reason I chose a community college first before coming to Michigan State was that I didn’t really have a major in mind. I was undecided and didn’t want to waste my time and money studying something that I wasn’t passionate about. It was also really close to home which was a plus for me. I also wanted to be able to have a job while starting school so I could start saving money and help pay for my tuition. I also didn’t think I was mentally ready to go away just yet, and I wanted more time to be at home, where I was comfortable with my family. Moving out of the house for the first time was different for me. I was excited and nervous at the same time. At first it was kind of hard, but I knew I needed to start becoming more independent, and moving away from home was the first step. And when I felt worried or emotional, it was nice knowing that home was only an hour and fifteen minutes away from me. I also have my car up here which is nice for when I feel like I need to drive home and visit.
I thought it might be weird at first to be older than my roommates because freshmen primarily are the ones to live in the dorms, but I don’t really notice it. Luckily, I live in a quad and we all get along really well and I don’t feel like I’m older. I always joke with my roommates and say that I feel like the Grandma because I’m a year older, when in reality I don’t feel uncomfortable or different at all. The thing I might have been the most nervous about was going in blind. I was really afraid that I wasn’t going to get roommates that I liked or had things in common with, but I ended up getting lucky. I actually went on Twitter to see if anyone had tweeted about living in my room which was how I found out that Emily was one of my roommates! As soon as we started talking I was so relieved to know that I had someone who was like me and that we would get along really well. I thought it might be hard to find friends who were my own age because East primarily has freshmen, but it was actually easier than I thought. I feel like there are actually a lot more transfer students than we think. I also had some friends from my hometown who I knew would be going to Michigan State and who were my age, so when I met up with them, I also met some of their friends, and it all ended up working well.
The transferring process of my credits was something I was worried about and, unfortunately, they didn’t take all of the credits that I hoped they would. A lot of my electives didn’t end up coming through, which was kind of annoying and it felt like a waste of time. When I was in community college I also had a job and was working around forty hours a week, which I liked a lot because it kept me busy. At Michigan State I have a job too, and work about fifteen to twenty hours a week. With that being said, I think it’s much more difficult in terms of schooling at Michigan State, so it’s nice that I’m not working as much as I did while at community college. While I was at Macomb I was a part-time student during my high school years, and then switched to full time once I graduated from high school.
Right now I have two years left at Michigan State . . . if everything goes as planned, ha ha, I don’t think I have any regrets about transferring; the only thing that is different is that I don’t get to see the kids at work as much anymore, and those were some of the best times for me. I will be able to go visit them this summer, and in the end, I think it was best for me to transfer to such a wonderful school!
This story originally appeared in Facing College: Diverse Student Voices, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.