On Transferring

Deciding to transfer colleges was one of the hardest choices I’ve ever made. As I mentioned in my bio, I attended Boston University for a semester before I transferred to Pitt. Did I hate BU? No. Was it the worst decision I ever made? Not at all. Is Pitt perfect? Nope. Even so, I feel like I made the right choice.

There were a few reasons I decided to transfer. For starters, BU is expensive. Like, really expensive. Google it if you don’t believe me. I had a pretty great scholarship package, but still. Add on the fact that my sister is also in college. I felt like I was a huge financial burden on my parents, and though they never would’ve forced me to transfer, I realized that it was the right decision for the future of my parents’ finances.

As I’ve mentioned, I live near Pittsburgh. Most of my family lives in the same county. My family is the most important thing in my life, and it was incredibly hard being 600 odd miles away. On top of that, my grandfather, who was my main mentor and absolute favorite person, was in and out of the hospital during my first semester away. If anything would’ve happened to him and I wouldn’t have gotten home in time, I never would’ve forgiven myself.

I’d also always thought that I would go to Pitt. My entire life was spent in blue and gold. I started going to Pitt sporting events when I was around six or seven. Most of my family went there for some part of their education, and my sister is there now. It was a huge diversion from the path when I decided to go somewhere else.

“So T,” you may be thinking, “why did you decide to go somewhere else?”

I am majoring in English and anthropology. If I go on the English track, I’d love to be a writer. If I do anthropology, I will either do forensics or biological anthro, which is basically the study of human evolution. BU has amazing programs for anthro, which is my primary major. I didn’t realize how good the English program is when I started, but it’s amazing as well. Boston University is a fantastic school.

Besides that, I was a little shocked that I was accepted there in the first place. To be accepted to one of the premier private universities in the U.S. with a scholarship? That was insane. It felt like there was no way I could turn it down.

I accepted my acceptance at BU, but I knew that it would be heartbreaking to write to Pitt and tell them that I would not be attending. I actually waited until the last day to do it. On the page, there is a comments section. I wrote the sappiest break-up letter to the university.

I started having my doubts when I was packing for college. I had never been away from my parents for longer than a week and had definitely never been so far from them. A part of me was absolutely devastated. I’m one of those people that is pretty cranky when I’m upset about something. I take out my feelings on the people I’m closest to. Unfortunately, I took my fear and trepidation out on my parents. They left sooner than I’d wanted them to.

It was on a Sunday evening, right after matriculation. There is this big fair with food and games and school spirit souvenirs. I was walking around with my friend, B (who I never hung out with again after the first week of school) when my parents texted me to meet me at my dorm.

They hugged me in my room and told me that they loved me. At that point, I hadn’t had plans to be home until Thanksgiving. I didn’t know how to tell them goodbye for two months. I did my best not to cry until after they left, and as soon as the door shut, I was a weepy pile on the bed. For the first time in my life, I was officially 100% alone.

I made friends and did the college thing. The sinking feeling in my chest deepened every single day. I ended up going home for my sister’s birthday in October. The day before I flew home, I watched a movie with my mom and could not stop crying. Literally, for three or four hours. I didn’t know if it was because I missed home or because my grandfather’s health was still declining or because I realized that I had had my first huge decision and I had decided wrong.

Two weeks later, I applied to transfer to Pitt. There was a terrifying week and a half between withdrawing from BU and being accepted to Pitt. I didn’t know if I would be going to college the next semester. I received the news that I was accepted on December 12 while I was sitting on a bench at the Museum of Fine Arts.

My first semester at Pitt wasn’t all happiness and roses. I had gained a new independence in Boston and I am so beyond proud of that. I can do my own laundry and pay my bills and support myself without help. I joined a sorority and a choir and found new friends. I still miss my friends from Boston and I’ll probably have to devote a whole post to leaving my first college best friend and my roommate behind.

I just want to clear up a few things for anyone who is considering transferring: You feel like a failure, but you’re not. I think you’re incredibly strong to make such a powerful decision. You are a beautiful human and it is okay to admit that you do not want to go there anymore. It doesn’t make you weak, or stupid, or immature.

It is okay to be homesick. I don’t really know how much homesickness had to do with my decision. Did I miss home? Sure, but it was less about that. I do miss the independence of living far away. That being said, not everybody is suited to going that far so soon. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be closer to home. Will I move away again? Sure. It is actually my dream to go back to BU for grad school. I just wasn’t ready for it at eighteen years old.

In the grand scheme of things, I know that I am going to create a beautiful life for myself. I will accept my decisions and my failures and use them to my advantage. My time at BU taught me invaluable lessons: how to be an adult, how to adapt to a new environment, and more than anything, how to be fully and truly myself.

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