(Orientation) OPINION: Finding my place at KSU as a transfer student

Alex Delaney-Gesing

I transferred to Kent State as a junior last fall. Having graduated with a two-year degree from a community college, I eagerly anticipated my pending departure from home to a four-year university.

As a junior, choosing between living in a dorm on-campus or in an apartment off-campus was a difficult decision. The pros and cons of each option revolved around two subjects: campus life and money.

Leaving home halfway through college instead of as an 18-year-old freshman is definitely not the same experience. When you’re that young, everything is new: being away from home, leaving your family and saying goodbye to friends you’ve had all through high school. You’re on your own for the very first time in your life. Your parents aren’t there and you don’t have to follow their rules because you’re not living in their house anymore. It’s exciting—but at the same time—it’s utterly terrifying.

Now, imagine nearly 21, having two years of college under your belt and going off on your own.

Literally, on your own.

I moved to an apartment in Kent the week before fall semester began and spent seven days wandering the city and campus. During that time, I spoke to hardly anyone, save for the daily phone calls to my family. I was on my own—truly, on my own—for the first time.

That first week I lamented and agonized over the start of classes and everything that came with them—new classmates, new professors, new campus—all of it, uncharted territory.

The first few months of the semester can be summed up in one word: rough.

Outside of my classes, I didn’t venture on campus all too often. The majority of my classes were in the journalism program, so to me, Franklin Hall was campus. Attempting to develop a social life proved to be difficult; non-existent.

As a transfer student, I knew that if I wanted to become familiar with the Kent State community, joining student organizations would benefit me in the long-run.  

So how did I turn it around? I joined the staff of the student-run newspaper, The Kent Stater, as a copy editor. Joining one of the student media outlets on campus opened the door for me in terms of connecting to the student body and feeling like a true “Golden Flash.”

Putting myself out there and connecting with other students with the same passion and goal as me—journalism—opened doors. I learned that everyone else has the same hopes and fears about school and the post-grad life. Everyone is unsure of what they’re doing, questioning if they’re making the right decisions, undoubtedly making a few wrong turns and just learning throughout the whole process.

I learned that in order to make a place for myself at a new school, I have to put in the work and effort. And open up to new people. No one really gets to know you unless you let them.

So, for all those transfer students fearful of starting over at a new school, don’t fret. Take a leap of courage and get involved. Experiment. Join a club or student organization of your interest. Meet new people. Befriend new people. Make a name for yourself. Experience the only time in your life when not knowing what you’re doing is absolutely okay.

Despite my uncertainty and doubt that I’d ever truly feel at home in a new city and at a new school, I have surpassed all expectations I could have ever had. Kent State has become the “home-away-from-home” that it claims to be.

Although I haven’t been a “Golden Flash” for very long, I can honestly say there’s no place else I’d rather be right now than at Kent State.