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Friday, December 8, 2023

Transfer Class of 2022: From community college to Zoom university

Students share their experiences transferring to UC Davis during the COVID-19 pandemic  

BY NORA FARAHDEL — features@theaggie.org

After spending two years at community college, a new transfer class was welcomed to the UC Davis community in fall 2021. However, their transition to the university was affected by restrictions due to COVID-19.

Harris Razaqi, a third-year economics major, made the decision to transfer to UC Davis based on the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Deciding between UC Davis and UC San Diego, Razaqi chose Davis because of its closer proximity to his hometown. Razaqi made plans to move into an apartment in Davis during fall 2020 but faced difficulties when the time to move came.  

“It was pretty hard, pretty depressing, just because you’re basically in a college town but it’s a complete ghost town,” Razaqi said. “That was definitely very difficult my first quarter, and then I decided to come back home after that, and now I’m kind of going back and forth.”

In addition to challenges with his living situation, Razaqi shared that it was difficult to meet new people given the constraints of the pandemic. However, Razaqi has been able to connect with peers through clubs on campus, and serves on the board for the Afghan Student Association.

Razaqi also said that the academic transition while transferring was difficult during his first quarter. 

“Compared to community college, it’s way more work in such a short amount of time,” Razaqi said. “I would have class Monday to Friday, so I would just not really have time to do anything. I would just be at my desk all day.”

Razaqi’s experience at Davis so far has not met his expectations for college life.

“Obviously, you’re going to a different school and I thought I would meet more people, get involved in a lot of stuff, [and] just be able to have fun,” Razaqi said. “But now that I’m here, I don’t really want to have fun, I kind of just want to finish, especially now that [it’s] online that feeling has just grown more on me.”

Despite the challenges of his first year, Razaqi still feels proud to have made the transition to UC Davis.

“It shows that you’ve put a lot of hard work into what you do, especially being a transfer student,” Razaqi said. “From my own personal journey, going to Davis has been a dream of mine. From being in high school, I had a 2.4 GPA, and going to community college, busting my behind just to get here, I definitely feel like that’s what Davis stands for. It shows hard work, determination and all that stuff.”

Razaqi recommended that incoming transfer students network themselves as much as possible by joining clubs and meeting people in classes. 

Manpreet Kaur, a third-year managerial economics major, was drawn to UC Davis because of the Punjabi community. Like Razaqi, Kaur moved to Davis as a third-year transfer student in fall 2020. Because her roommate did not move in until winter quarter and it was a difficult time to socialize, Kaur found the beginning of her time at Davis to be boring and visited home frequently. However, she shared that this quarter has reaffirmed her decision to choose Davis because she has been able to go out and see friends more. 

“Now that everyone’s [being] vaccinated and stuff is starting to open up because COVID rates have started to go down, it feels more and more like a college town,” Kaur said. 

Kaur has extended her friendship circle at Davis through mutual friends. Despite online classes, Kaur has found that her experience has become more of a normal college experience with the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Now I have become more involved in clubs and organizations on campus than I was in fall quarter,” Kaur said. “With everything leaning back toward reopening, clubs are starting to be more active, so I’m pretty much just happy with where I am and really glad that I did in fact move on to campus this year.”

While Kaur is happy with how this year ended, she looks forward to next year when she hopes to experience more of the normal life of a UC Davis student. 

Brooke Harrington, a third-year sustainable environmental design major, also moved to Davis in fall 2020. 

“I’m on campus, I enjoy biking around, I enjoy the people that I live with,” Harrington said. “It’s been really nice living with a group of other people, most of [whom] are either freshmen or also transfers. It’s nice living with people and not being alone or isolated during this time.”

Beyond her roommates, Harrington met new friends through interning at the student farm this year. Additionally, Harrington found a community among the students in her major. 

“With everything that’s online, it’s definitely nice that I have a small cohort within my major,” Harrington said. “It definitely allows me to get to know people a lot easier than it would be if I was in 500 person lecture classes.”

Harrington shared that while she imagined her transfer experience to be different, like being surrounded by new faces and having college nightlife, she is happy with her decision to transfer to UC Davis. 

“I’m a firm believer that people continue to grow,” Harrington said. “Even though due to the pandemic, college life isn’t what I thought that it was going to be—at least this year—I definitely think I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t transferred this year.” 

Reflecting on her first year at UC Davis, Harrington shared advice to incoming transfer students. 

“Trust the process, try to get involved in whatever ways you can and take it slow,” Harrington said. “It’s a rough adjustment in a normal year, and it’s even more difficult when we’re all dealing with the social, emotional and familial aspects of living through a global pandemic.”

Written by: Nora Farahdel — features@theaggie.org


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