After lugging all of my belongings up to the third floor of Butterfield B, my parents took the trek to Lowe’s to pick up my mini fridge. I, on the other hand, attended my first orientation event: my floor meeting. Having been to college before, I knew what to expect: a ramble of rules (no fire hazards, no alcohol, blah, blah, blah), meeting my RAs (who were surprisingly lovely compared to those in my previous institution…. They actually seemed to care about me!), and, of course, meeting those who I would be living with for the rest of my sophomore year. I took a seat amongst a horde of freshmen, barely paying attention to the monologue being spewed at me. I was anxious out of my mind. Who would I eat with? Would the rest of the transfers be nice? And where the HELL is Usdan?
After the meeting, I exchanged greetings with a few people and promptly headed back to my single dorm room to wait for my parents to return. What was I supposed to do when they left? I am the definition of a people person. Sure, I enjoy my alone time, but how was I supposed to eat my first dinner at my new school alone?
Thankfully, I grabbed a meal with my RA before my first orientation group meeting, then headed to Foss for a beautiful rendition of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” that had appropriately been changed to “You Belong At Wes.” I spoke to a few first-years around me but definitely felt a little weird. A strange feeling of deja vu washed over me. I’ve done this before…. And I felt this way because I had. I was experiencing my second introduction to college life. Second. I felt so out of place.
Here, I finally met some of my fellow transfer students. We played a name game, gained some information about our orientation schedule, and were encouraged to attend the first night on Foss before being sent off. I shoved myself in with a group of other orientation students and headed to Foss. Even as someone more extroverted, this task was a bit daunting, so I cannot imagine how an introvert would deal with this abrupt transition. I will admit, the group I found myself surrounded by were just what I needed for my first night at an unfamiliar place: kind, understanding, and they were transfer students just like me.
The next few days were where I began to find numerous faults in the orientation process. The second morning, we were crammed into the Memorial Chapel with the first years, where we were tasked with participating in a call-and-response exercise “introducing” us to academic resources, departments, and Wes’ notorious “Rule of Seven.” I had already been to college, so this was a review: a retelling of what I had already learned at my previous institution. I was a part of college clubs. I had taken college courses. This information was redundant, and frankly, a waste of time. Next, we had advisor meetings. Again, it was me and numerous first-year students, discussing practically the same information. The entire conversation was aimed towards the first-year experience, and I sat there hearing information I had heard over and over again.
The next few days were similar, filled with scanning into events that I gained little to nothing from: a show of comedy skits about sexual assault (admittedly, an extremely important topic on college campuses) that tried to deflect from its mature content in a comedic way (which my transfer friends and I agreed was borderline offensive), a WesTalk about academic honesty and the use of AI (again, repetitive), and a transfer panel that left me feeling more stressed about how behind I was on requirements than excited about this new experience. I loved meeting and bonding with all of the other transfer students at movie night, the talent show, and the other various events, but I was also desperately awaiting for the returning students to arrive in Middletown. I felt like I was much closer with the first-year students than the sophomore class, which was disappointing.
When classes and clubs did finally start, I found myself feeling a little more at ease. Sure, it was still difficult to make connections with new people, but going into the first week of classes with my fellow transfer students alleviated some of this stress. I did (and still do), though, feel slightly out of place. My whole grade knows each other already. I watched as my classmates embraced in Usdan after being apart for the summer months. I watched as members of my classes joked with their friends during the first days of my classes. I noticed that when I introduced myself as a “sophomore” and not a “sophomore transfer,” people questioned why they hadn’t seen me around before. All of this was expected, but still, I wish that Wesleyan had a system of some sort for transfer students to be integrated into their class. Whether that be through a mentor system, a transfer-specific seminar/orientation, etc., I just wish that there was a more solidified way for students who are new to Wes, but not the college experience as a whole, to be introduced to the world of Wesleyan.
Peyton Brill can be reached at email@example.com.