By Project MyStory Ambassador, Christina Etienne

woman holding a bookTo be honest, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to relate to a transfer student. As I was strolling with a friend one day, she ranted on and on about the troubles of being a transfer at UAlbany. I wasn’t paying attention as she droned, for I could not empathize until she quietly muttered “It’s like being a freshman all over again.”, and the empathy finally sank in.

I am in my sophomore year, but I can remember how rough my first month was as a freshman. I didn’t exactly have a sense of belonging, and didn’t have a solid group of friends to call my own. I could join all the clubs I wanted, like everyone highly recommended, but I still felt alone and that bothered me for some time. As I continued listening to my friend, my heart sank. Imagine going though that experience again? I’d be miserable times ten. And since I couldn’t come to her support as a fellow transfer student, I came to her as a former freshman. Yes, I was not aUAlbany Podium transfer student, and I could not relate to all of her trials, but we found a mutual understanding. So instead of trying to pretend like I could truly help her with all of her problems, I shared my own stories of misfortune so we could laugh, reflect, and devise ways to make things better. And as we parted ways, I felt as if there was something else bonding us besides the reason we became friends in the first place. I reached her on another level that I thought was unattainable and I was happy to help. She helped me to reflect on my journey as much as I helped her on her current path.  My simple message to transfer students is this: you are not alone. Outside of this minority, there are so many others that have been through similar trials. Throughout this Born Again Freshmen series, I hope that we will be able to share our stories, and reach that level of higher understanding. I hope you’ll come for the ride.

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