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A Transfer’s Fears: the End

Posted by on Monday, May 11, 2015 in College Life, Diversity, General Information, Nashville, Student Life, Summer, Year in Review.

I’ve met friends who made me laugh and cry, who made me pour out my heart and soul and deepest, darkest secrets. I’ve met friends who saw me in my most vulnerable, my most pathetic, yet still embraced me. I remember looking them in the eye as tears fell down my face, talking about how we feared the world and how we thought life was too difficult to bear at times. I remember playing up to six hours of Euchre, Resistance, and Never Have I Ever in an endless bus ride back to Nashville from spring break, laughing and plotting each others’ losses.

And in an instant, a lot of them are gone. Graduated. Left to face the world as full-fledged adults. I miss them dearly. But what hurts even more was how I could have spent one more year with them, one more year to shed a tear in an intimate circle inside a small dorm room. I felt like I just met these amazing seniors, and as soon as we’re the best of friends, I have to let them go.

Oh how I wish my Vanderbilt journey began 2 years ago instead of last year. Transfers always talk about how the beginning is hard, but rarely do you hear how the end is just as difficult.

I only have 2 more years in this place. I’m going to be an upperclassman, a partaker of the second half of college. I’m going to be a junior, but it barely feels that way. It’s scary, the thought of having one less year to enjoy what this wonderful school has to offer, one less year to grow in this environment. And once I’ve learned just about all the ropes, once I’ve learned how to thrive in this school, all the ins and outs and nooks and crannies, I have to leave it behind. Seeing all my senior friends graduate is heartbreaking. They’ve been the product of four years of grueling yet enriching molding, so naturally they have come to terms with closure.

I, however, might not have that pleasure just yet. I know it’s very early to think about graduation, but the thought of leaving so soon — just after I’ve acclimated myself completely — is like premature birth, or a child growing up too soon.

In my personal experience, UTD, my previous school, wasn’t a very traditional college experience: no football team, a largely commuter school, a large number of undergraduate students over the age of 30, and no D1 sports (except for chess). There were no parties to be found, no quick escape from academic life other than the company of your friends in the dorms. I thought I wasn’t much of a partier, so I didn’t think it would be a problem. But my high school self and UTD self weren’t very different.

Coming to Vanderbilt was a slew of many firsts: my first party experience, my first time trying alcohol beyond a few sips, my first kiss, my first C in a class, my first time I felt like just an average student in the middle of the pack, and my first time seeing the consequences of a predominant social life over academics. I wouldn’t recognize myself if my high school self were to look at me right now. And I’m proud of it.

How am I supposed to grow if I didn’t try new things? How am I supposed to improve myself if I wasn’t challenged? I could’ve looked back and taken the easy way out — that is, staying and coasting with little effort, knowing not the dangers of an invasive social life and consequently having to figure out how to balance school and fun.

But that’s not me. I took a challenge. Sure, my grades fell, but I’m learning a valuable lesson from it, I’m understanding how it feels to be truly humbled, and I’m finally understanding that college isn’t just about school. I’m learning how to socialize and I’ve stepped far beyond my comfort zone, from a shy, geeky, prudish, and proud high schooler with a select few friends who were similar to me to a humbled, more outgoing, and social college student with friends from every walk of life.

I love this school because of how it has, is, and will shape me. I just wish I could have more time to be Vanderbilt’s play dough.

I guess that’s a sign of making the right decision of coming here: crying after it’s all over.

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