So You’re a Transfer Student

January 7, 2022 | | 5 min read

Congratulations, Triton! You are a long way from your community college. All your hard work has paid off because you are now attending one of the finest institutions in America. You may be asking yourself, what comes next? I, a rising second year transfer, will be giving you a small introduction to campus, along with tips and tricks I have picked up from my first year at UCSD.

With UCSD being as big as it is, you can easily feel lost and overwhelmed and the best way to get over those feelings is to familiarize yourself with the layout of the university. To tackle the nearly 2000-acre main campus, I suggest starting with the different colleges at UCSD. Before stepping foot on campus, look at the UCSD map online and start at the college you are in and look at the buildings and facilities located within it. Once you get a feel for what is there, venture to the surrounding colleges and continue the same process. Doing this helps you organize and orient yourself on campus. You may not know campus inside and out after this but, when you’re on campus you can at least get a general sense of where you are and where you should be. If all else fails, there are maps posted around campus and your phone is also a great resource. Another general rule of thumb is to try to navigate your classes before the quarter starts. Go on campus and see how long it takes you to get to and from each class especially if you have a tight window of time between your classes. However, the best way to get to know UCSD is to just take a nice walk around, get lost a little and explore the many facilities the school offers.

For many of us coming from a community college, we are used to a semester-based term system. A quarter-based term system scares many, that along with the known rigor that comes with attending a UC school. Best thing you can do for yourself is to re-evaluate your study habits. Think critically, were you making a constant effort to put out stellar work or were you just trying to pass each class you had? We have all been there at some point where the overall goal is to “just pass” but, this mentality can drag you down. Regardless of what your plans may be for after getting your bachelor’s degree, you should tackle your education with drive and persistence. A key thing about a quarter-system is that time is precious. You learn so much in a compact amount of time that it is easy to get lost in the shuffle. Re-evaluating your study habits and attitude towards your education is truly half the battle. With that said, do not forget to stay organized and it may take some time to figure out your groove (especially if you did not really have one before) but once you can organize your school and personal agenda, your mental health will thank you. Another thing to remember is that sometimes you may not get it on your own. It is okay to not know what is going on and there are many resources you can utilize: other students, TAs, professors, tutors and the list goes on. However, there is more to college than getting good grades. You must take care of yourself.

Taking care of yourself can take multiple forms. Make sure you set yourself up to graduate. This means you should plan your next two years at UCSD. Your game plan should have you taking courses to cover all requirements: major (and possibly minor), college and university. Strategically plan each quarter you plan on enrolling in and do not overload yourself. Balancing your courses is key, which may get harder with each quarter getting into your upper divisional classes. Taking care of yourself also means finding a sense of belonging here. You cannot be hitting the books all the time because the mind can only take so much. Try venturing out of your comfort zone and look into getting involved with organizations, sports or research. Whatever your interests may be, chances are UCSD has something for you. You never know what amazing people are out there waiting for you until you put your foot through the door. The moral of the story is to remember to have time for fun. If you find your mental health and well being compromised by the day-to-day stresses of being a college student, there is CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services), one of the many resources available for students. Or if you need some time to realign yourself, perhaps, take a scenic walk along the Pacific Ocean. You only have two years here, try to make the most out of your experience. I do not need to be the one to tell you that there is more to school than just the learning aspect. Have fun, it is good for you.

Welcome again new Triton. I hope you found what I had to offer helpful and insightful. I covered navigating campus, getting into the right study groove and taking care of yourself beyond the classroom. At this point you are probably feeling a mix of emotion: overwhelmed especially going back to school after this pandemic; excited because you might be in a brand- new city and/or on your own for the first time; tired because you want to just graduate already and get that degree. No matter what, these next years truly are what you make of it. If you want to be able to look back at this time of your life with full content, try to put yourself out there and push boundaries. Most importantly, imposter syndrome is real so know that out of tens of thousands of applicants, you were chosen hence, YOU DO BELONG here.