There is only one way that I can describe what it is like transferring to NC State: an emotional roller coaster. There were parts that I enjoyed and other parts that I didn’t enjoy so much. However, transferring to NC State was one of the greatest decisions I have made so far.
Being a transfer student at NC State is not at all like what I thought it was going to be. If you’re a transfer student, it is harder to integrate yourself into the community, especially if you don’t live on campus or have to commute. I don’t live on campus and my commute is an hour each day. If I encounter traffic it can take me up to two hours just to make it to campus. Unfortunately, this semester I had an 8:30 a.m. class. That meant that I had to get up at 6 a.m. so that I could make it to class on time. Commuting each day has taken a toll on me, and I am currently searching for an apartment that is closer to NC State. Not living on campus, or close to campus, has made me feel like I am not as involved as I would like to be. I usually don’t stay on campus past 4 or 5 p.m., and that is usually when most students want to meet or when most club meetings happen. In my opinion, if you have the chance to stay on campus, stay on campus. Commuting may be for you, but it is not for me and I had to learn that the hard way.
Since I am a transfer student, I currently don’t have a GPA at NC State. I am currently in the process of switching majors. In order to change majors, I have to wait until after my first semester to switch majors. I had originally planned on double majoring in paper science and chemical engineering, but after this semester I knew that I needed a change. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed my first paper science class with Dr, Pawlak, but I realized that working in a paper mill just wasn’t for me. I am also taking intro to chemical processing principles, which is not at all what I thought it was going to be. Most of my weekends became dedicated to working on the homework that was assigned to us, and that was stressful. I felt like I had no free time and I was just not understanding the material. I read the book and watched the recorded lectures in hopes of understanding anything, but that didn’t help. I ended up not doing so well on my first test in that class and I felt like everything was over. Being a Goodnight Scholar, I knew I had to keep my GPA up, but after that first test, I stressed out way too much. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to pass that class and that my time at NC State was going to be over as fast as it had started.
I eventually got out of this mindset and at this point I am feeling much better about that class!
As my first semester at NC State is coming to end, I have found myself reflecting on what I did right and what I did wrong.
During this time period after I had failed my first test, I did a lot of thinking about my future. I knew I was not going to be happy working at a paper mill for the rest of my life. That lifestyle was just not for me. I did not want to be as stressed out as I was for my next three years at NC State. But if I switched majors, what was I going to switch to? I started looking at all the majors that NC State had to offer, and I eventually landed on horticulture. One of the concentrations within horticulture was science which involves learning about plant breeding. This really caught my attention since at my community college, I took a biology course that included a chapter on plant biology and the lab focused on learning the names of different plants. I enjoyed this course and I am really interested in how to grow and manage different types of plants. Over the summer I started a garden and it has really blossomed. Most of my plants that I acquired started out small, but have really shot up due to how much they have grown. Managing these plants is fun and is a great way for me to de-stress myself. I enjoy looking at my plants and seeing new growth because, in my heart, I know I helped this plant grow and thrive. It is dependent on me for survival and I can’t let it down. This sounds really weird, but it accurately describes how I feel when I look at my garden. I am hoping to start growing more vegetables next summer when I have more free time. With the support of my friends and the Goodnight Scholars community, I knew that switching to horticulture was the right thing for me to do. The Goodnight Scholars community has given me many opportunities that I would have never had the chance to do if I wasn’t a part of it. Just the other day, they had an event where I learned and practiced Chinese calligraphy. There was a phrase that they use which was “peace every year.” I really liked this quote because no matter how hard life has got you down, it can’t always stay like that. With the semester coming to an end I feel more at peace with myself and I am excited for my next semester. I am starting something new that will determine what the future has in store for me.
As my first semester at NC State is coming to end, I have found myself reflecting on what I did right and what I did wrong. I did a lot of procrastinating which really didn’t help since I felt like I was always rushed to do school work, so I could meet the deadlines. I have gotten much better at not procrastinating and it has been reflected in my grades. I no longer wait until the last minute to start studying for a test. I also had to learn how to study effectively for a test since my old way of studying was not helping. I couldn’t understand why my old method of studying worked when I was at my community college, but not at NC State. I changed my studying methods and have now devised a new and effective way to study. It was hard to break out of my old habits, but sometimes you have to change things about yourself in order to grow. Being a Goodnight Scholar has really helped me come out of my shell and I feel like I have grown as a person. Every time I go to the Goodnight Scholars lounge, there is always someone there to greet you with a smile. Everyone is super friendly, and they want to see you succeed. I am very lucky to be a part of the Goodnight Scholars community.
NC State has many resources available to help you if you feel like you need it. I received help from my friends, family, the Counseling Center at NC State, and the Goodnight Scholars community when I needed help. I realized that it was okay to ask for help because everyone struggles at least once in their lifetime. I became aware of how everyone around me was also struggling, but they hadn’t given up and I knew that I couldn’t give up either. I put more effort into what I was doing and soon everything started turning around for me. I am no longer as stressed as I was at the beginning of the semester and I am a lot happier. With finals coming up, I can feel myself starting to stress out again, but I feel like it’s normal to stress before a final. I try and comfort myself by planning out how I’m going to study for my exams. I encourage everyone to study as much as they can, so we can all finish strong. I hope everyone the best of luck during finals week and remember not to stress out too much!
Photography credit: Jason Perry/Goodnight Scholars Program