In the weeks leading up to the NISTS 2022 virtual annual conference, we're highlighting the transfer stories of this year's National Transfer Student Ambassadors. All four students will attend the conference in St. Louis and participate in a student panel conversation on Friday, February 4th. You can read more about Katie's story and meet the other 2022 ambassadors on the NISTS Blog.
I began my college career at the Sacramento City College extension center on UC Davis’ campus. At the time, SCC occupied one building on the very edge of UCD’s campus, and there was a rather small selection of courses. Not having the resources to travel very far for school, I took as many classes there as I could until I ended up at the main SCC campus.
After staying there for a while, I decided it was time to transfer, and I am now a senior at UC Berkeley preparing for my graduation! I currently study anthropology and have a love for archaeology and material studies. I remember choosing this major my first semester of community college; I was sitting in the small waiting/study area of that extension center, signing up for next semester’s classes. The questionnaire you have to fill out always asks what your intended major is, and having just finished at the top of the class for my biological anthropology course, I had no second thoughts about declaring my major in anthropology! My original plan after graduation was to pursue graduate school in archaeology so I could become a cultural resources management archaeologist, but I have shifted my focus to material and textiles related studies and am hoping to start a master's program in the fall.
Aside from being a student, I’m a pretty busy individual! I have two part time jobs, and also run multiple social media accounts (both for myself and my job!). My YouTube channel content focuses a lot on the transfer process and destigmatizing the community college experience. I aim to let my content on YouTube grow and change with me, and I am really looking forward to getting to share my graduate studies goals with my audience and community! For work, I am a transfer admissions consultant for a small admissions consulting firm called Accepted Consulting. There, I get to work one on one with future transfer students and assist them with their transfer experience! Additionally, I am a part of a few clubs on campus, and try to participate in other activities such as ballet and getting to spend time with my family.
Deciding To Transfer
Before being a UC Berkeley student, I had to figure out the transfer process and what it might look like for me. I didn’t always plan on transferring - I entered community college with little to no idea what transferring was and how to do it! But, through the mentorship of the professors in the anthropology department at SCC, I soon found out what transferring was, and that it was actually possible to go to a university like UC Berkeley. Shortly after my first field trip with the SCC anthropology club to the Phoebe Hearst Anthropology Museum at Cal, I started researching the transfer process, making UC Berkeley my goal school.
During the research stage, I utilized resources from all over the place; my community college, the universities I was applying to, but most importantly - social media. As much as the California community college system tries to make the process as clear as possible, it can still be confusing and difficult to navigate. Being someone that relied a lot on the experiences and stories of those that shared on social media platforms, I wanted to give back by making informational content and working for a business that centers the community college pathway.
Transitioning to a New School
Transitioning to a university as big as Cal was interesting, especially during a pandemic. While I am usually comfortable around people in a classroom, having to participate in class via Zoom during my first few semesters proved to be a bit of a challenge. While some amount of culture shock (or transfer shock as I call it) is to be expected, it’s much more difficult to adjust to a new environment when you aren’t able to do it in person. There were definitely moments of miscommunication that can really only happen in a digital space! Aside from other, usual worries such as finances, housing, and academic rigor, I would say that the in-class adjustment was the one I struggled with the most!
I did my best to prepare for this transition the same way I handled my transfer applications - social media! I watched tons of videos and “vlogs” about life as a UC Berkeley student and/or transfer student to get a feel for what daily life would be like once I transferred. This is, again, one of the reasons why I make videos on similar topics! I like to share as much about my life at Cal, what my homework looks like, how much money I spend, what it’s like to be in the classroom, all with the hopes that my content will make its way to someone that needs to see it, just like I did!
Looking Back on the Experience Looking back on my transfer experience is a little complicated. Having transferred during a pandemic, I know that my already nontraditional experience was made even more complicated and unusual because of the restrictions we are dealing with. It’s impossible to say that everything went to plan when everyone’s plans were interrupted! Because of the pandemic, and because I live alone, my transfer experience hasn’t been quite what I wanted it to be - full of friends and adventures and new experiences, but I think I’ve made do in a way that has still made this a memorable experience. If there was one thing I would have wanted to know before transferring, it’s that the experience is what you make of it - just like your community college experience. Even during the pandemic, integrating into your new university, making friends, and finding new opportunities is all about how much you put yourself out there, and how much you are willing to try new things. As I am now entering my last semester, I do wish that I had taken more time to attend club meetings or go for more walks through campus - I’m definitely going to miss it when I’m gone! Overall, I am so happy and grateful to be where I am, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything! If it weren’t for community college and becoming a transfer student, I wouldn’t be pursuing higher education and research, and would never have found my true passions in life! Follow Katie's journey online!
The views and opinions expressed on the NISTS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NISTS. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.