As the school year begins with new changes to learning and socializing, transfer students are experiencing a different first year experience compared to previous years.
Ashley Mapps, a junior kinesiology major from Frisco and a transfer student this year, said she chose to attend Tech because she liked the campus and wanted to get some distance from home.
The main adjustment to student life at Texas Tech involves getting accustomed to the larger population when transferring from a community college with only 500 students, Mapps said.
Another adjustment includes understanding how to use Blackboard, the online portal, which is used by Tech, she said.
Kelsey Cornish, a junior psychology major from Georgetown and a transfer student this year, transferred to Tech to be part of the high student involvement and to meet new people because the students are friendly.
For Cornish, one of the challenges of transferring this year was having to complete the transition process solely online, she said.
“It made it really hard to do registration stuff because none of it was in person. You couldn’t figure out anything with your advisor face to face,” Cornish said. “It was a lot harder to get your questions answered.”
Nicole Terrell, Tech program manager for Department of Transition & Engagement, said one main challenge for transfer students is making relationships when living off campus and not consistently having the same people in your classes.
“Making those connections to students is going to be difficult and now with COVID even more difficult because there’s less in person gatherings,” Terrell said.
In order to help transfer students adjust to a new school and meet new people, Transfer Connection, a collection of programs and services for transfer students, held a transfer welcome week which consisted of three events. Two of the events were virtual and held over Zoom and the other was in person.
One of the virtual events was the Transfer Techsans kickoff night.
“Students came to that and played a bunch of different mini-games, virtually, where they were put into breakout rooms and they got to know other students,” Terrell said.
There was also a Zoom trivia night and a day where students could get a free Tech T-shirt, Terrell said.
Even if it was being conducted virtually, Terrell said she hopes it was still a good way for students to meet each other.
Cornish attended two of the welcome week events that took place both over Zoom and in person. She said she was surprised by the amount of people that attended the events.
“It was pretty fun. I actually met some people so that was fun,” Cornish said.
Finding ways to make connections with other students is definitely more difficult due to COVID-19; however, it is not impossible, Mapps said.
One way she has made an effort to find people with similar interests is by going to parks and playing sports with other students.
“Even if you don’t play sports, just hang out with other people,” Mapps said. “I went there three or four times already, so it’s a good way to meet people.”
Overall, Terrell said this year it will be easy for students to stay in their apartments and avoid socializing with others, but she encourages them to take advantage of virtual events.
“There are still lots of ways to get involved but you do have to get outside of your comfort zone and leave your apartment to find those things that are going on, and Transfer Connection is a really great staring place,” Terrell said.
If students are having troubles adjusting, they can reach out to Transfer Connection to get plugged in to more resources.