Switching schools is tough at any stage of the game, but it can be particularly tricky for college students, who have credits to transfer and degree paths to coordinate on top of moving in and adjusting to a new community.
Junior Kaitlyn Hansen, a Northwestern transfer student, knows this process all too well and admitted that the first six weeks at NW were “rough.”
Another junior transfer student, Andrew Schneider, identified with her sentiments: “There were some times early on when I struggled because I didn’t feel as connected to the junior class because they’ve been together now for several years.”
Despite their initial difficulties, both Hansen and Schneider have adapted to life at NW quite well.
“I have very nice wingmates in Fern, so that makes the adjustment easier,” Hansen said.
“I’ve only been here a couple months, but I really feel like I’m a part of this college. In many ways, I don’t even really feel like a transfer student, and I think that will be even more true next year,” Schneider said.
Some students have an easier time making the transition than others. Elizabeth Hancock transferred to NW from a community college and now lives in the Spanish House where she’s had no trouble at all jumping right into the campus scene.
“We have a great bunch of girls who are loving and care about each other. We haven’t had any disagreements this year so far and that overall good attitude just makes me feel so good,” Hancock said.
“An answer to prayer” is how Hancock described NW’s friendly, welcoming atmosphere.“This was very different than the community college I came from,” she said.
Schneider agreed that NW is a nice change of pace after leaving his former university.
“Here there is a lot more freedom for me to be myself, to develop my own personal faith and to live out what I believe,” Schneider said. “My old school was super strict. The focus was on conformity. Here, people accept you for who you are.”
However, not all the differences between NW and other institutions are quite so warm and fuzzy, as Hansen explained. “Classes are much more rigorous here and more is expected out of you as a student. You have to put in much more study time to pass classes at NWC than at my old school,” she said.
Regardless of her increased workload, Hansen said NWC is “very much like home. Since it is small, you can meet a variety of people and develop strong friendships with all of them.”
When it come to developing friendship, Hancock and Schneider were also very encouraged. “My favorite thing about NWC is the people. I think Northwestern is right when they advertise community because it’s easy to make friends here whether that is with other students or even professors,” Hancock said.
Schneider summed up his time here saying, “I love the people here! I love being able to sit and talk to really cool people, really late at night (my old school had a midnight curfew). For what it’s worth I wouldn’t transfer back for anything.”