Attending a community college can be a dire and boring experience, with the repetitive action of strictly just going to class and then leaving. No excitement or campus involvement really occurs, and most students cannot wait to transfer and live that “real” college experience at a four-year school.
A four-year college is certainly a bigger pond that presents endless opportunities for every student to explore. Since two years at community college have already gone by, the remaining two will pass by before you know it, so it’s crucial that within this timeframe you utilize these years to the fullest. You want to be able to reminisce on graduation day and refer to these years as truly the best years of your life—no regrets and no unfulfilled desires.
As an UCLA transfer student myself, I can imagine that majority of you want to become involved in your college community, and you’re probably wondering how you can do so. Listed below are numerous tips on how you can create a rewarding college experience in just two years.
Join a Club
Usually, at the beginning of every quarter or semester, there is a club rush. A long list of different clubs set up booths to promote themselves and urge others to join. This is great, because you can apply to join anything that sparks your interest.
As an incoming transfer, I was introduced to a club called ImpactLA, which mentors and educates middle school students in South Los Angeles to help them grow as individuals. Not only did this powerful experience allow me to make a difference in someone’s life, but I built a bond with the other club members and developed friends.
Join a Fraternity or Sorority (or at least go through the rush process)
If you want to be part of a family and create bonds with “brothers” and “sisters,” joining a house may be right for you.
During the rush process, you attend different meetings and talk to others who are in the same position as you. A lot of the students are freshmen, but there is also a good number of transfer students rushing as well.
Regardless if you become initiated or not, you make friends along the journey, and this can be just as rewarding as actually joining the sorority or fraternity. The weekly meetings and interviews at each house I attended opened doors to new friendships.
Take it from my personal experience: during the rush process, I became close friends with someone I dearly admire.
Bond with Your Roommate(s)
Moving in with random people is undoubtedly a risk to take. It will either be a sweet or bitter experience, depending on how you treat the situation.
I had five roommates, and although there were a couple of girls I did not grow super close to, I am so fortunate that one of my roommates transformed from a stranger to one of my best friends.
Visit the School Website Often
Unless it’s time to register for classes or check grades, many transfer students rarely pay a visit to their school’s website, missing out on upcoming campus events such as fairs, shows, conferences and more.
Visiting UCLA’s site introduced me to free salsa dancing classes offered on weeknights (and let’s just say my dance partner was a real hunk!). In addition to the class, the website informed me about important meetings regarding campus jobs and internships along with campus news, like the school presidential elections and the controversial BDS movement (movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanction against Israel).
Attend Office Hours
With classes being exceptionally large, office hours allow you to connect with your professor and address any concerns you may have. My professors even shared life advice that go beyond related class material. I built connections that will open space for networking, future employment opportunities or letters of recommendation for graduate school. Your professors are wonderful educators that are able to guide you, and it’s important that you keep in contact with them via email. One of my professors has become a significant mentor in my life.
As you get closer to junior and senior year, start doing internships. Depending on your study or future goals, interning is always a plus.
An internship coordinator would send me tons of emails related to my field of study. After submitting applications, I received a couple of opportunities. I chose the best fit for myself, and it has given me a valuable taste of the real working world and widened my vision of where I see my future career path heading.
I highly encourage every transfer student to step out of that community college mindset and truly take advantage of every opportunity, whether it is listed here or not. Cross your line of comfort, and make your last two years the best chapter in your book.