Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Transferring Transformation

by Blake S., Panther Blogger

Perhaps one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences that I have had thus far in my life was the transition from being a community college student to becoming a Ferrum College student. The main reason this was so challenging for me was because of the new environment I was being placed into. I was going from a community where I felt very comfortable to somewhere that I knew very little about. I was transferring into a college where I didn't know anyone, was going to live on my own, and take classes that I had never even heard of before. I was very nervous but excited at the same time to embrace this new stage of my life. I thought that attending Ferrum College would be just like the community college except even better now that I was able to be more independent.  However, after a few weeks of my first semester at Ferrum, I learned that there were very few similarities between this private four-year college and the community college.

At the community college, I was able to both be a full-time student and have a full-time job, working anywhere from thirty to forty hours a week without becoming overwhelmed. The classes I took were not very demanding, and many of the professors were very lenient on the assigned coursework. I also had tons of free time throughout the week and in between classes to go grab a bit to eat, hang out with friends, and just relax. Life was easily lived and not challenging at all.

Playing volleyball with friends back home

Unfortunately, I had the mindset that Ferrum College would be the same way. I actually expected that attending Ferrum would be a little easier than community college since I did not plan to work a full-time job while taking classes at the same time. However, I soon learned that being a student at Ferrum College was a full-time job in itself.

Since I transferred into Ferrum as a junior, most of my classes are advanced upper level courses. These are much more challenging than the introductory and basic level courses that I had taken throughout my two semesters at the community college. In the fall, I was also exposed to professors I had never worked with before and teaching styles that were very different from what I was used to. I learned very quickly that if I wanted to be successful in my college career here at Ferrum, I would need to develop time management and organizational skills. These were not easy things to do, especially since I never had to worry much about them beforehand, but once I learned how to execute them effectively, my life became much easier and the semester became more enjoyable.

Presenting independent research at the Blue Ridge
Undergraduate Research conference
It was also a new experience for me to live on a college campus. One of the main reasons I decided to attend Ferrum College was because it was away from home. I was ready to see what it was like to have to support oneself. I thought that it would be a great eye-opener to have the responsibility of being a full-time student and making good grades while at the same time carrying on with life without my family there to provide for me. This is perhaps the challenge I have enjoyed the most. I learned that living on my own is actually much more enjoyable than living at home, and the responsibility has encouraged me to mature and become more determined to succeed.
An afternoon of hiking with friends at Ferrum College
My first semester at Ferrum College was not an easy one. However, after developing time management and organizational skills, making new friends, and building professional relationships with the faculty on campus, I was able to overcome my struggles and be successful. Being introduced to the new and more educationally-developed environment at Ferrum College has allowed me to grow in knowledge and become prepared for life in the real world. I feel that my experience of transferring from a community college into Ferrum College has transformed me into a new and better person.

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