A transfer to higher ground

Megan Rozsa

I will forever think of myself as a Starkonian, a.k.a. a transfer student. I started my college career at the Kent State Stark Campus in good ol’ Canton. Those are my roots, my comfort zone.

However, in order to progress into my junior year of college, I had to transfer to the main campus – a scary, scary place. At Stark, I was happy with traveling between three buildings, whereas in Kent, I would travel between who knew how many.

I sat in the Stark Student Center for countless days with my JMC BFF and talked about how much we’d miss the ’80s Power Lunch on 94.1 FM and singing to Natasha Bedingfield while the nerd herd played “Magic: The Gathering” on the table next to us. Would we still be in the same classes? Would we have 400 people in our classes? Would we get lost every day? We dreaded the transfer to higher ground.

At the end of the summer leading up to my junior year, I came to campus with my dad to scout out the buildings where my classes would be. I got my sense of direction from him, so I figured if we’d get lost, we’d be lost together. I knew as much about the Kent Campus as he did.

The first day of school was terrifying. I felt like a traveler in a foreign country, and I definitely couldn’t speak their language.

I couldn’t find parking, so the plan I had to park in the Verder lot was foiled. I parked in the Music and Speech lot and found myself standing between Centennial buildings. Where was I? Luckily, a friendly girl told me how to get to Satterfield, which seemed like three miles away.

Every day that week, I was sweaty by the time I got to class. I don’t know why I was so terrified of being late, but I was. I was always amazed to see some people walk nonchalantly into class 10, 20, even 30 minutes late. I could never be that person.

My JMC BFF was experiencing the same thing. We sat in our new Student Center and talked about big campus life, minus the ’80s Power Lunch. We spotted fellow Starkonians and wondered if they noticed us, too. The best thing we talked about was the new shortcuts we found on campus, and we called each other when we got lost, which was often – for me at least.

As the year went on, I became more comfortable with my surroundings. The scary campus was no longer a labyrinth, and I turned into a Kent State native. I spoke the language. I walked the walk. And I occasionally parked illegally. I wasn’t scared. The campus was my friend now.

I went from having no friends except my JMC BFF to having friends everywhere – that girl from my World Geography class who couldn’t understand the professor either, the girl in my Human Evolution class who hated monkeys as much as I did, my fellow journalism comrades.

My major accepted me with open arms. I was a puppy among all the big dogs who had so much more experience than I did. I got my articles published, they pushed for me to work harder. They made me a big dog.

So here I am, a Starkonian going into the real world, ready for whatever breaking news comes my way. Kent State equipped me with the navigational skills I need to make it through any crowd in any foreign country. I ask questions like it’s my job – har har.

And I did it all without even being late to class.

Megan Rozsa is a senior magazine journalism major, the Web editor of the Burr and a public affairs reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].