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.

Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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