Should I Transfer?
April 22, 2010 11:54 AM Subscribe
Could I get some advice on whether to transfer?
posted by anonymous to education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am a sophomore at a small LAC. I've applied as a transfer to a top university in my hometown, and although I have yet to receive anything regarding my admission, I've been deliberating over what I will do if I'm accepted. There are several issues tied up with this question, so this post may be on the long side.
My initial reason for transferring was because of loneliness. I've tried joining extracurriculars and I do have a small circle of friends (whom I've met through my roommate, because I'm a shy person), but I often feel like I can't socialize because my time is consumed with schoolwork. Minus my meals, the occasional weekend excursion, and the moments when I procrastinate on the Internet, I spend almost all of my time doing schoolwork, which I attribute to two factors:
a) I'm not the academic superstar I thought myself to be in high school, where I was really good at taking tests/regurgitating information/finding the answer in the textbook. College is of course a whole different level--I'm really not skilled at critical thinking, and I get anxious whenever I have to write a paper. One reason my work is so time-consuming is that I like to make sure I do all the readings (and because I'm not a very fast reader to begin with, I divide up my readings and start on them early) so I can be as well-prepared as possible whenever I have to write a paper. The few times that I had to write papers for high school taught me that writing the paper at 12:00 a.m. the morning it's due is not something that works for me. I need to have plenty of time to think about the subject matter, because I always fear that I won't meet the page minimum (even though I always inevitably do, I still find the entire process incredibly nerve-wracking). I'm taking a learning skills course to help me with my reading, but thus far I don't feel that my reading abilities have improved.
b) I have internalized my mother's stating in my earlier school days that I don't necessarily have to get A's, as long as I try my best (although my mother herself has always been extremely nitpicky about my getting good grades, but I won't get into that here). But I feel like I equate doing all my readings and thinking/fine-tuning (and therefore stressing about) a paper until it's due with doing my best. I don't even have any aspirations for schooling beyond undergrad (at least not right away), so it's not like getting an MA is what's motivating me. If my undergrad experience has taught me anything about myself, it's that I absolutely hate academia because of the way it eats up my time.
For an assignment last year, I remember attempting an experiment where I tried not to tweak a paper that I knew was my best work--but I just couldn't. A few years ago I developed OCD, and though I no longer have the same compulsion as I did before, I lately have wondered whether my obsessive dedication to school is just another manifestation of OCD.
Thus, I don't think the usual "Get out more/join an extracurricular activity!" advice would apply in my case. I initially thought it would, because in high school I went through a similar dilemma where all I did was schoolwork and joining a EC helped me enjoy high school so much more. But high school was different, because it wasn't so reading/writing intensive; I could do the work, be involved, and still do well in my classes. But the expectations for college are so much higher that I don't think I could achieve the same balance.
Though the lack of a strong support network has been the main source of my unhappiness, the school's location hasn't helped either--it's in a tiny town with awfully gloomy weather. So I'm wondering whether it would be better to transfer to the college in my hometown, where I would live with a sibling I'm very close to--I consider him to be one of my best friends. I know not living on campus would be social suicide, but considering the rather sad state of my social life at the moment, it wouldn't be too much of a change. I know college is a time to break away from your family and the comfort zone of your home, but I figure if I can't break myself of this behavior, then I might as well be in a place I like with people I love.
BUT there are some things that make me hesitate to transfer. One relates to the fact that I'm more than halfway done with getting enough credits for graduation. I've fulfilled the dreaded natural science requirements, so I'm pretty much free to take whatever classes I like. Additionally, I could have a fairly relaxed class schedule my senior year--which wouldn't be the case at the transfer school.
And it shames me to admit this, but I must say that one of the things that attracted me to this school was the fact that the courses in my major there don't seem to require any 15-page papers--one of which would be a research project that I would do during the month of January as a capstone project--like my current school would. I'm particularly worried about the capstone project; given the long time it takes me even to write a five page paper, I feel like a month and a week wouldn't be enough time for me to research and write. Part of me thinks I should stay here and face this anxiety/fear I have of writing papers longer than 5 or 7 pages. If I were to transfer, I would be taking the easy way out. But another part of me is resistant to making myself do something I don't want to do, and that probably won't affect my chances for success in the real world anyway (or would it? See, this is why I need input!)