Dear Elle: To transfer or not to transfer? That’s the damn question…

Q: I’m a freshman considering transferring schools. Why do you think (or not think) F&M is the best place to go to college?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years at F&M, it’s that transferring has been a consideration of the masses. So, I’ll tell you what I’ve come to make of it. I can’t convince you that F&M is the best place to go to college. Besides, what is “best” anyway? Bear with me here…

You have to figure out for yourself what best means for you. For example, do you feel supported by your professors? Do you feel like you can reach out to them, talk to them, learn from them? Does F&M provide access to your interests? Can you take the classes you want? Do you think this is the school that will advance you in life without putting you in thousands of dollars of debt? (That one’s a little rhetorical.)

My point is, I can’t sit here and advertise, or shit on, F&M. It’s not really my place, and I honestly don’t think it would be much help for you. I think you need to sort through the pros and cons. Yes, pro-con lists kind of suck, but they do provide some on-paper perspective. Try answering those questions I listed, and think of more; and if you can’t find the answer to some of them, then maybe that issue in and of itself is a sign that you need to start looking at other schools.

I think it’s noble to transfer and make a decision that feels comfortable to you. But I also think it’s noble to stay at F&M and realize that could mean waiting months or even years to figure out where you belong, to accept that the right fit isn’t always the one you choose. And I think I’m realizing, as I write this, that F&M really isn’t the best place to be. But neither is any other college. It just has to be the place you think you feel most in your skin, the most supported, the freest. And even then, checking all those boxes is difficult to achieve. In the end, the “best” college is really just a marketing scheme trying to convince us that we’re missing out by not being somewhere else. 

As cliche as it sounds, most of college is really just what you make of it. 

And I want to add that in COVID times, making anything out of nothing is beyond difficult, but I think it should be part of your consideration as well. F&M has handled the pandemic quite differently than other universities, for better and for worse. And though I don’t know your current situation, I do know the whole being sent home thing isn’t ideal. However, schools that don’t have guidelines will be risky, schools that are stricter than F&M will be frustrating, and schools that let you live on campus will be different. Again, it’s what you think best fits you. I can’t stress it enough, my dear.

Now, get thinking, sweetheart, because you’ve got some decisions to make.  

Yours,

Elle

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