How to have a smooth transition to a new school

Whether just starting out or transferring in, here's some advice to make your new school feel more like home

Detroit senior Donovan Pitts-Reed high fives a mentee Tuesday, Aug. 22 in the Warriner Mall.

Many will say that the four years of college fly by, but what about when you only have two or three years at your new school? 

For many transfer students, moving comes with a wide array of emotions: Excitement for what is to come; nervousness for what your new experiences will be like; fear that you made the wrong decision; and the all-encompassing feeling that time is moving way too fast. 

Here are some resources and advice from fellow transfer students on how to manage the adjustment:

 Step outside your comfort zone

I’ve always thought that I’m more of an introverted person, but, when I transferred, I knew if I wanted to make friends at Central Michigan University I would need to step outside my comfort zone. 

This meant walking up to people in my classes and introducing myself. I would ask if I could sit next to them and then talk about our majors and lives outside of school. At CMU, you might meet many students who grew up not too far from your own hometown. Or, you could be surprised at how far away some of your new closest friends have lived.

Join a club

Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) is a fantastic way to expand on your major. According to the CMU office of Student Activities and Involvement, becoming a member of an RSO can help you: “be yourself and ... be around others who share your interests.” 

But there’s more to it than that, according to the office website. 

“In your student organization, you’ll have the chance to develop your leadership skills,” it reads. “And when your involvement is driven by your passion, you may be setting the path for others to follow your lead.” 

Additionally, getting involved in an RSO helps you to make new friends, find and grow your passion, network, get practical work experience and much more.

Engage Central, the university’s database for all things RSO, lists more than 400 student organizations from the Advertising Club to the Zeta Theta Pi service sorority. There are clubs for gamers, animal lovers and fans of Taylor Swift; organizations celebrating international students’ birthplaces and cultures; and groups offering support and fellowship for students of all identities.

If you’re interested in journalism, marketing, public relations, sales or most any other facet of media, join us at Central Michigan Life! You could be a reporter, photographer, videographer, podcaster, advertising account manger or even a leader. Whatever you choose, you will be met with a sense of family and friendship.

If you’re majoring in biology, join Central Sustainability, a club focused on sustainability on campus. 

Have a passion for sign language? Become a part of the American Sign Language Society and gain a deeper understanding of deaf culture.

There truly is something for everyone. Head over to the Engage Central website to see a list of all RSOs. 

Attend campus activities 

From Engage and Leadership Safari to graduation, this campus is buzzing with a seemingly endless mix of activities. 

Going to events is a way to meet new people and see all the different kinds of talents CMU students have. 

For example, the student-led production Threads had its annual fashion show April 15 in the Finch Fieldhouse. Featuring original works by students in the university’s Fashion and Interior Design and Merchandising Department, the annual event brings together stage production, graphic design, public relations, photography and much more to create a runway show to rival the professionals. 

One week later, the Indian Students Association (an RSO on campus) held its Indian Night celebration. It featured traditional and Bollywood-influenced dance, educational information and an abundance of delicious food. Students served as hosts for the evening, and proudly shared their homeland and culture with the friends, professors and community members who packed McGuirk Arena.

Overall, whatever you do with your time at CMU, remember to have fun and put your best foot forward. We can’t wait to meet you!