In August of 2018, I transferred from Northampton Community College to Temple University. I left my small school of three years in the mountains to attend a large school in the city. I left my comfort zone to go somewhere completely new. I left a campus where almost everyone knew me to go to a place where no one knew my name. I left a college where I had made a name for myself to go and make a new one elsewhere. Here are some things I learned this past year:
I Don't Regret Attending Community College
Unfortunately, a stigma exists surrounding community colleges. The stigma that it's for students that don't get good grades. That it will hurt you in your career. That you're better off at a four-year university right away. This stigma is wrong.
I have been an advocate for community colleges since my first semester in college. If it wasn't for Northampton, I would not be the student, the leader or the person I am today. The foundation that NCC helped me build will forever be a part of who I am and I'm extremely grateful for the friends, professors and mentors that I have made from community college.
It was at NCC that I was able to truly understand what I wanted to do with my future. Originally entering college as a music therapy major, I quickly realized that it wasn't a career for me. My professors were able to help me identify my strengths to find a career path I would both enjoy and succeed in.
From there, I became a student that excelled both in and out of the classroom. Taking advantage of leadership opportunities and on-campus work positions, I built soft and hard skills that filled up my resume and landed me internships three summers in a row. Not only that, but I was able to meet some of the most incredible professors that had more of a passion for teaching than I have seen anywhere else.
I don't regret attending community college in the slightest.
Transferring is Rough
While I love both Northampton and Temple, that doesn't mean that transferring was easy; in fact, there were many moments that I wanted to drop out. Like I said, I left a campus that was familiar, where everyone knew my name and I thrived to go to a completely new university where no one knew my name and I had to start fresh. It's a very difficult situation to be in and I'm still trying to find my footing.
The hardest part for me was coming to terms with starting over. I was heavily involved in campus activities and was known for it. When I came to Temple, I had to completely start over and get involved all over again. In doing so, I had to prove myself capable of big responsibilities while also having upperclassmen remember my name. I was sometimes pushed aside and not taken seriously because of seniority. I had to learn different cultures in organizations and on campus as a whole. I think it helped that all three of my roommates also came from community college backgrounds. We somewhat understood where we all were coming from, though we spent different amounts of time at our respective colleges and had different levels of involvement on campus.
Temple didn't make it easy to jump right in. It was like trying to jump on a train moving 80 mph. I joined organizations that performed at extremely high levels and it was intimidating. It was a reality check and learning experience.
I Don't Regret Transferring
Transferring was difficult, but it has made me more resilient and outgoing. Where I had three years to prove myself in community college, I had to do it immediately at Temple. I was forced to be outgoing and extroverted if I wanted to achieve the way I wanted to.
Temple has opened up many doors for me and my career aspirations seem closer than ever. I have grown a lot professionally and have met some incredible people that have welcomed me to Temple and have placed me in a position to grow over the next year.
I have found a new home, but that doesn't mean I have forgotten my old one. I would not be the person I am today without Northampton Community College and Temple University will continue to shape me and help me grow until I graduate next spring. Transferring has been a challenge, but I don't regret it.