What it’s like being a transfer student at UC Davis
UC Davis admitted roughly 10,000 transfer students for the 2018-19 academic year. For many newly transferred students, most of whom have previously attended a junior college, learning the ins and the outs of the UC system can be a challenge all on its own. But then you also have to factor in housing, transportation, meal prepping and a multitude of other often stress-inducing elements pulled from the ever-so-mountainous pile of collegiate obligations. For some students, the transition from a junior college to a four-year university is a walk in the park. For others, it is nothing short of a nightmare.
UC Davis harbors a robust population of transfer students. In fact, nearly one-third of the entire student population is comprised of students who have transferred. One major roadblock that these students often encounter is unfamiliarity with the fast-paced nature of the quarter system. Natalie Boone, second-year transfer student and psychology major, said that she was slightly overwhelmed with just how rapidly a quarter can fly by.
“I realized when I got here that the pace was a lot quicker,” Boone said. “I signed up as a clinical nutrition major, which is a B.S. degree, and I still had some chemistry classes. I will compare those chemistry classes to the same chemistry [classes] I took at community college. I was an A or B student at community college, but when I first started here I was a B or C student. In the semester system you have some time to breathe, whereas the quarter system goes by a lot faster.”
Sara Abou-Adas, first-year transfer student and neurobiology, physiology and behavior major, recalled feeling not only surprised by the rigor of coursework at a UC campus, but the difficulty of life outside of classes.
“The first week I was really homesick and I kind of didn’t even want to be here because I didn’t really know the bus routes or anything like that,” Abou-Adas said. “Moving away and living on my own, I feel like I’m kind of behind and everyone [else] has already done all of this.”
This experience is not unique to Abou-Adas. In efforts to combat these kinds of feelings and ensure that students have a relatively easy time acclimating to campus life, UC Davis offers a variety of clubs, organizations, outreach programs and resources to its students.
These resources can, however, be obscure to newly transferred students. Abou-Adas points out a major flaw that many organizations and clubs often overlook when trying to recruit students — accessibility.
“All of my classes are by the Silo, and I heard that most of the tabling is done here [at the Memorial Union], so I don’t even really get to see anything of that stuff,” Abou-Adas said. “All of the [organizations] that I am going to join is through word-of-mouth, not from a club approaching me.”
Daniella Aloni, a second-year transfer student, communication major and current ASUCD senator, shared these sentiments regarding the success (or lack thereof) of UC Davis’ transfer-student outreach programs, saying that the school can definitely do more to educate students on the resources that are available to them.
“I feel like there are efforts that have been made to inform incoming transfer students about these various resources, clubs, organizations and so on but there is always room for improvement,” Aloni said.
Aloni extended her point by illustrating frustrations expressed by other transfer students about the school’s inability to create a campus that feels inclusive toward transfer students.
“To this day, I’m surprised by the amount of things I didn’t know about on our campus, and continue to find out about every day,” Aloni said. “I’ve heard complaints from other transfer students about how little they knew when coming to the campus. For the most part, from what I have noticed and been told, anything a student finds out about is from other students, or their professors who mention things in lecture.”
According to Aloni, college is only as good as you want to make it. Aloni advised all transfer students to go out of their comfort zones during their time at university and take the initiative to seek out any resources necessary. Aloni also stressed the importance of experimenting with new activities, classes and even friendships, because doing so allows students the opportunity for professional, social and personal growth.
“A piece of advice I’d like to share with any incoming or current transfer students is ‘try everything,’” Aloni said. “We have such a short amount of time on this campus and it flies by. This is your time to do anything that you have wanted to try, so don’t hold back. You are meant to be here. You earned this […] and deserve to be on this campus just like anyone else.”
Written by: Emily Nguyen — firstname.lastname@example.org