The Daily Illini

Don’t worry about transferring your friends over

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Don’t worry about transferring your friends over

By Gillian Dunlop, Managing Editor For Reporting

Let’s be real, there are a ton of articles and advice geared toward incoming college freshmen — even in this paper.

They tend to highlight the transitions from high school to college, and they often say something along the lines of, “you’re all in the same boat.” But what about when you are transitioning to a new university after completing a year or two or three somewhere else?

The fact of the matter is, transferring universities is scary. You’re not in the same boat as everyone else and you might feel in limbo: not quite a freshman, but still new to campus. At least that’s how I felt.

I transferred to the University as a sophomore. For me, the transition into university life the second time around was harder than the first. I wanted to connect with freshmen, but felt removed from them. I wanted to connect to students my year and above, but felt distant from them because I did not have the same freshman year memories and experiences.

Eventually, I realized it didn’t matter if I was at the University for my first year or not because making friends is all about finding common interests. A major benefit to attending the University is there is a group for almost every interest. The first step to finding your group: Attend Quad Day.

Quad Day occurs at the beginning of Fall semester and is when almost every organization at the University storms the Main Quad to advertise for their group. It is a fantastic way to figure out what activities you may be interested in joining, which will ultimately lead to future friends.

A benefit to making friends through shared interests is you already have a conversation starter. You can talk about why you want to join that particular club and what past experiences you might have. And through these conversations, you might find that someone else has a lot in common with you.

Aside from clubs or sports, a lot of transfers also find a community within Greek Life. Joining Greek Life or even just rushing can be a good way to meet a lot of people at once. It also helps you take those first few steps in starting conversations with people.

Even if eventually you branch out to other activities, Greek Life can provide a good jumping off point for making friends and socializing. You have a built in social calendar and opportunities to make connections with a ton of people, which can be especially helpful when you’re just starting out at a new university.

Another thing to keep in mind is when you transfer to the University, you usually have to live in student housing for your first year. I chose to live in a freshman dormitory which was a great experience, and I’m still living with my then random roommate two years later.

A lot of transfers, however, choose to live on the transfer floor of a dorm in the Ikenberry Commons. Whichever route you go, you’ll end up meeting a lot of people. The added bonus to living on the transfer floor is the people on your floor will be in the same boat as you: not a freshman, but new to the University.

Even though it might be a slow start to making friends and finding your niche, the University has something to offer for everyone. My bottom line advice is to put yourself out there and pursue what interests you; the rest will fall into place.

Gillian is a senior in Media.

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