After transferring to a new school less than a year ago, I find myself wanting to transfer again. I was recruited to play football–a sport I love more than just about anything–at a D1 school but was terribly unhappy, so my family and I made the decision for me to transfer and play at a D2 school. While I feel good academically, the other aspects of my college experience aren’t going so well. My teammates and coaches are extremely negative, and that negativity is starting to really affect me. Of course I could just quit the team, but I know I couldn’t just be a student at this school. It doesn’t feel like the best fit. I don’t want to keep transferring, but I also don’t want to settle. What should I do?
Miserable in Manchester
Dear Miserable in Manchester,
It’s been a while since I’ve answered a Dear Kermit… letter, and I think getting back to the basics of writing responses instead of podcasting them is a good way to get back into the swing of things. Now that that’s out of the way, I want to thank you for your question, for your bravery to write in. College can be hard: new friends, new environment, demanding professors, social engagements, sporting events, the list goes on. There are so many new aspects that require time and patience to successfully navigate this unchartered territory, sometimes it can feel overwhelming. The good thing is that, for most people, the anxiety and fear diminish, and the transition is complete. We find our place and we feel good about our decision. The reality, however, is that more and more students are hitting a variety of roadblocks that are preventing them from connecting and adjusting. Sometimes they can’t pinpoint the issue, but fortunately, you can.
You chose your new school because you wanted to play football and you wanted to receive a top-notch education. The issue is you’re not getting what you(r parents) are paying for. What’s worst are the negative effects of your team. Kudos to you for recognizing there is an issue and seeking help, but what should you do?
- Make peace with the idea of transferring (again). According to a study conducted by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, more than one-third of students transfer universities at least once during their academic career, and 45% of that population changed schools more than once. It’s becoming less and less taboo to search and switch to find your perfect fit, so don’t fret about that.
- Speak up. If you’re feeling disconnected, despondent, and disinterested, let someone you trust know–football captain, coach, counselor, your parents. See if they have the influence to positively change the team dynamic and your overall experience.
- Weigh your options. Would you stay at your current school if your teammates and coaches were more positive influences? Are you planning on playing professional football? If not, is it worth it to change schools for a sport you’re only playing for another three years or so? Consider making a pro/con list to see what the costs and benefits of staying or going would be. Also think about your needs and wants. If after you’ve spoken to the powers that be, nothing has changed, and the school still isn’t meeting your very basic needs, it may not be the place for you. Discover what is.
- Take a beat. This isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly or rushed. Take your time. As my mom always says, “don’t make your move too soon.” While transferring more than once isn’t the end of the world, you will have to explain your decision to admissions counselors. More than that, it takes a lot of time, energy, and money to transfer, so you’ll want to think carefully about this decision.
- Trust your gut. You know what’s best for you, so trust your intuition. It may not be the easiest decision, but if it’s the best for you, it’s always worth following through.
I hope this is somewhat helpful. Please keep us posted on your journey. Sending you the very best of luck on finding your perfect fit, and trust me, you will!