Belonging: A transfer student’s take on finding a community

Perhaps the most valued experience in human nature is to feel connected to a community of like-minded people. Since starting my first semester at Geneseo, I have felt this sense of belonging on campus. I worried that it would be difficult to find “my people” as a transfer, as most students in my classes had already established their friend groups, just as I had at my previous college. Luckily, it took almost no time for me to feel at home, and to have a special collection of people with whom I enjoy spending my time.

I am a person who struggles with adjustment; I don’t like change, and it takes me a little longer to adapt to new things in my life. This was the case when I arrived at Geneseo this fall. I was uncomfortable and nervous at first, which caused me to build a lot of walls with the people around me. As I got more comfortable and started to get to know my suitemates more, I started to open up, and now they are the people closest to me on campus. A similar situation happened with my softball team, but it was an easier adjustment as my suitemates also play. The softball girls spend every weekend together at the softball house, and even when our games or team meetings are over, we go out together. Through the softball team, I’ve become friends with members of both the baseball team and the swim team, and I’ve met a lot of great people from various Greek organizations. Being a part of an athletic team on campus is a crucial part of my positive experience at Geneseo because I was able to have an almost instant group of friends who shared similar values and interests, and they introduced me to others who share these same things.

The confidence and comfort that I gained from being a part of a team carried over into my academic life, too. I have grown more comfortable talking to my classmates, and I have even started to see some friends in my classes or in passing when I’m going to class. As a biology major, I spend a lot of time in Newton Hall and the ISC, so I have started to talk to some students who also take the majority of their courses in these buildings. Not only does this add to my sense of belonging at school, but it makes me more at ease whenever I participate in class discussions. The people in my major are more than willing to help if I have a question on an assignment or lab, and their kindness and welcoming attitudes toward someone they’ve never talked to is reassuring. The community I’ve met from being a biology major is wonderful, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

Since starting school this fall, I’ve worked hard to make my college experience the most enjoyable it can be. I look forward to going to classes, seeing my friends, and being with my teammates at the softball house on the weekends. Having a sense of belonging is the key to happiness; we are all trying to fit in somewhere. My community is made up of other student-athletes, but everyone seems to find their own community based on their particular niche. Those who are interested in art, or music, or Greek life, tend to gravitate toward others with those passions, but Geneseo’s diverse population of students are open and friendly toward those who may have different personalities or ideas of fun. I’m glad that it was so easy to find “my people” and for college to feel like home at last.

The Transfer Chronicles

For someone who struggles to enjoy the unknown, for someone who doesn’t like taking many risks, change can be scary. Being a transfer student, I was very nervous about attending Geneseo. I knew the school was great for academics and athletics, but I worried that I wouldn’t feel comfortable, or that I would struggle with the adjustment to a smaller campus. I knew one of my suitemates and the softball coach before coming here, which was exciting and a huge relief, but I was nervous about almost everything else. What if I get lost on my way to class and show up late? What if my roommate and I don’t get along? What if I don’t make the softball team? What if I don’t like it at all? I was very anxious and unnerved this fall, but after being at Geneseo for almost half a semester, I can say that I made the right decision to transfer.

Since the first day, I’ve been welcomed by so many people on campus. From professors to coaches, to teammates, to people just walking by. Everyone at Geneseo has been extremely friendly and kind to me since I’ve arrived. My suitemates, my roommate, and I have dinner together every night and enjoy sitting in our common room and catching up on our day. My softball teammates and I go to lift three times a week and usually get together every weekend for some fun team bonding at their off-campus house. Geneseo makes it easy to socialize. Whether you want to meet a friend at Starbucks, or at the Union, the gazebo for the beautiful sunset, or on Main Street for a meal, you’re always able to see the people you want to see. The social adjustment to college has gone more smoothly than I could have imagined because this campus is full of friendly students, faculty, and staff who are more than willing to help those of us who are new.

My experience so far regarding academics has been amazing. As a biology major on a pre-med track, I knew I was transferring to a school that would challenge me. My dream is to attend Emory University in Georgia for graduate school, and become a physician assistant in pediatric emergency and trauma medicine, and Geneseo’s biology program will make that dream a reality. The program is ranked one of the best in the country, and I’m lucky enough to be a part of it. Though certainly far from light work, the content I’m learning, the classes I’m taking, and the supportiveness of the professors in my field are phenomenal. I feel confident in my ability to be successful in the future, thanks to the work I’m doing now.

As far as being an athlete at Geneseo goes, I couldn’t be happier. I’m a member of the Geneseo varsity softball team, and the success of my team—and others at Geneseo—is just another reason why this college stood out to me as a transfer. My coach pushes me to be the best I can be not only on the field and in the weight room, but also in the classroom. The coaches are available for more than just practices and games; they encourage their athletes to go to office hours, and they check in on them periodically to ensure they’re doing well in their classes and their mental health. My teammates and captains have also been my biggest support system. Any time I run into trouble, whether it’s a bad practice, a bad grade, or just having a bad day in general, my teammates are the first people I turn to for help. Everyone gets along and supports each other, and we spend at least one day a week together as a team. Having the support of a team and coaching staff is such a game-changer in my academic life, and Geneseo has given me some of my best friends through softball.

Transferring to Geneseo was a big risk. I was very anxious about taking such a leap of faith, even though I knew this was the best place for me. Since being here, I have made incredible friends, I have built relationships with my professors that will help me achieve my goals, I have played softball with supportive coaches and teammates, and I have faced the daunting challenge of being a biology major. I cannot express my gratitude enough, and I’m excited to see what the next two years hold!