Finding Your Place

Profile of One Transfer Student’s Experience

By Chelsea Bellows

This transfer story doesn’t begin like many of the others. I was one of a handful of junior college transfers, or “jucos” as we have been so eloquently labeled. After two years at the College of arin, and two associate degrees, it was time to relocate and complete my four-year degree. Transferring as a junior, not as your usual sophomore, and coming 3,000 miles from California, a land of sun and relaxation, to the rat race and energy of Washington, D.C.-I had no idea what was in store for me.

Transferring was not easy. For others, the transition was as simple as changing shampoo brands, but I was devastated. As childish as it might sound, I missed home so terribly that it almost drove me to leave Georgetown. I couldn’t understand why so many students, freshman and transfers alike, were unaffected by this change.

Choosing to transfer to Georgetown was a last minute decision. Summer was filled with late nights of endlessly comparing Georgetown to UCLA. Los Angeles or Washington D.C., $13,000 tuition or $34,000, quarters or semesters, a four-hour drive from home or a six-hour plane flight, real fraternities and sororities or the exclusive B-Frat? It was a tiring and difficult decision, but in the end, Georgetown prevailed and I packed my bags and headed east, far east!

That first humid August morning, driving across the blue and gray balloon besieged Key Bridge, I was excited yet terrified of what awaited me. Unlike the majority of new students at Georgetown, I had never visited the campus until the first day of NSO. This, of course, limited my knowledge of the university to computer images, word of mouth descriptions and school mailings.

As I had expected it to be, the campus was a bustle of activity and enthusiasm. People and white tents littered Copley and Healy lawns. The New Student Orientation leaders, the students, professors, staff, and priests were all so friendly, but something was missing. This was not my old school and this was definitely not California.

Distinct from other transfers who had left their schools because they were not happy; I did not want to leave. It was familiar to me. I was captain of the swimming and water polo teams, I had many close friends, and I was intensely involved in campus clubs and activities. Coming to Georgetown, I didn’t have any intimate friends waiting for me, student associations were already filled with upper classmen, friendship circles had already been established, students knew which professors were the best, everyone knew the places to party and I couldn’t have felt more lost. I was infuriated at myself for not having entered a four year school as a freshman.

The first semester was challenging beyond belief. There were days I was on top of the world, confident that I could handle the two remaining years. Then came the days I called my mom and cried, declaring that coming here was a mistake.

Leaving campus for Christmas break was emancipation, while the thought of returning was literally heartbreaking. I had to make a decision. Was I going to return to Georgetown for the spring or was I going to transfer back to California? Come January I was back on the plane to D.C., this time knowing what lay ahead of me and what I could do differently to make my years at Georgetown, though short, well worth the time and money. I did that little inner thought process we all do, the one that goes something like this, “Okay, Chelsea, you are here, you can’t leave, so you might as well accept it and make this the best you can make it.” And I did.

Not overnight, but gradually, I assimilated myself to life as a Hoya. I may sound immature, considering it took me almost seven months to feel at home, while it took some only days. But when I return this fall, as a NSO transfer leader, and I walk though the front gates, I will feel at home. It took quite some time and the journey unquestionably had its low points, but it had to be done. I made it through my first year and I can’t wait to be a senior. Me, love Georgetown? It is amazing what this place can do to you.

Chelsea Bellows is a senior in the College.

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