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Transferred But Still Am Not Happy -- Need Advice ASAP

jule009jule009 20 replies8 threads Junior Member

So I've posted a lot on here in the past couple months (a lot of very sporadic posts), and I'm having a new problem that I was wondering if anyone else has faced.

I left my old school, Emory, after my freshman year to go to the University of Pennsylvania. At the time of leaving Emory, I still really loved it and was afraid that I was leaving something I loved behind. I told myself I could always go back and that I was mainly going to UPenn to just try it out and see how it goes.

Since getting to UPenn, I haven't really been happy. The environment is quite isolating and I just feel like I'm very alone and stressed. Like classes are fine and I really do like the ambitious environment, but it just feels like it's lacking in community and I feel more like a student of Philly just going to classes in the city rather than a student on UPenn's campus (if that makes sense). So it feels like there's not much of a campus and I really like having a campus environment. I also have very few friends due to this and that's pretty rough, too.

So, about a couple weeks ago, I was pretty positive I'd be heading back to Emory. I was thinking about how great it was last year, where me and my closest friends would go off on our shenanigans and everything was great and I was super happy for the most part. I haven't felt that way since.

Yet, I'd planned to visit Emory again for Fall Break just to see how it was and I was thinking I'd get here and think "Yes, this is exactly what I was looking for. I remember why I love this place." But now, being back here, I've felt the total opposite. A lot has changed. A lot of my friends don't really talk with each other anymore and one of them is even considering transferring. I know I haven't actually been seeing it from a student's perspective and change is expected, but it feels like I've changed, too. Like, I remember who I was last year, and since everything that's happened, I don't know where I belong really. The campus feels somewhat similar, but I also feel like now that I've seen how ambitious Penn's campus is club-wise, it's hard to come back and feel like I'm going backwards. It's also just in a city so I like that about Penn, and I didn't like how it felt like it was dead outside Emory's campus.

I genuinely think they're both great schools with a lot to offer, I just am afraid I don't belong at either. And if that's true, I don't even know where I belong or what to do. I've been looking at schools that accept spring transfer admissions, but all the deadlines are in like the next five days, and I feel like it's too late for me to sporadically spend a ton of money and apply to all these schools last minute. I don't even think it's feasible for me to do that. I don't even have letters of recommendations and I'd feel guilty harrassing someone for one this late.

At the same time, if I wait until the year ends, I don't know what I'll do for next semester. My mental health has been pretty bad since getting to Penn, and I don't know if I can do a second semester of this. At the same time, if I decide instead to go back to Emory, I'll have wasted a semester at Penn (because Emory doesn't accept any credits that I would've taken -- I'd be returning as a re-admission). Plus, I'm afraid I'll return to Emory and dislike it even more than Penn, because I've seen that things have changed and whatever wondrous dreamworld I'd been in my freshman year is dead now. On top of all that, if I wait until next fall to transfer, I won't be able to transfer out if the new school I go to is also not a good fit.

I don't know if maybe I'm just too picky or if maybe no school will make me happy because I'm simply not capable of that. But I know I was super happy last year at Emory -- I just feel like whatever that experience was is gone now and I can't go back and re-live that. So...yeah. I guess I'm just wondering what people thought about this. Also, what schools do take transfer admissions for spring? Andd if anyone here went to Emory or Penn, please let me know what you think and whether Penn might get better the more I get used to it or if Emory isn't as different as I think it is.

Thank you!
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Replies to: Transferred But Still Am Not Happy -- Need Advice ASAP

  • blossomblossom 9907 replies9 threads Senior Member
    There is an old saying "bloom where you are planted".

    If you were writing that you were miserable at Emory and wondering if you should transfer to Penn, I'd be a LOT more supportive than now- when you've ALREADY transferred to Penn, are missing Emory, but not sure that's where you belong either.

    Stick with what you've got. Start to act like you've got three years to spend in Philly and join, make friends, get out of your comfort zone to take advantage of what college is all about. If you go through life assuming that you can always bail if things are perfect, you'll go through life never doing the hard but satisfying work of making your current situation the best it can be.

    By the time you show up at your third college, you could have a campus job you love, have solid relationships with a few professors, be part of an organization or cause you care about, and be almost halfway through a BA. Instead- you want to start all over again, without any analysis as to why you've been unhappy at both Emory and Penn?

    No. You are at Penn. Start to take advantage of the hundreds of student organizations. If you don't feel like part of the campus, it's because you've got your eye on the exits, not because Penn doesn't have dozens and dozens of clubs and activities and things to do and things to join.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7623 replies61 threads Senior Member
    I was just talking to someone about how nothing is perfect. It doesn't have to be perfect to be good enough. IMO, Penn is more than just good enough.

    I agree with committing 110% to Penn. Get more plugged in!
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  • JellyPeepsJellyPeeps 194 replies6 threads Junior Member
    You seem to have figured it out, but I wanted to throw in my two cents. Transferring is hard and so is moving to a new city and feeling alone while you "start over." But, you are not starting over, you are moving forward, and sometimes that comes with growing pains. There was a reason you left Emory. You weighed your options and transferred to a really good school and should have everything to look forward to.

    Here are some to consider: First, transferring back is likely a mistake. You said yourself that it is different and feels like moving backward. You are nostalgic for something from the past because you feel the pain of change and growth where you are. Second, you really haven't given yourself a chance to do well and feel accepted at UPenn. From the way I understand it (and correct me if I am wrong), this is your first semester as a transfer. If that is the case, you absolutely have not given it enough time.

    Now, if you have already been at UPenn for a year and are just starting in your second year there, I would say that your feelings of isolation should be a priority. Your mental health should be a priority and you should meet with a school or outside counselor/therapist/etc. in order to address some of the stress you are facing. You need to actively work to create both a social network and a support system.

    In short, I think you should either stay at UPenn, or withdraw this semester to work on your mental health and pick back up in the Spring. Doing a fast transfer in the Spring will really only make things worse. And, if you transfer to a third school, not only are you starting over--again--but you are creating a pattern of instability that will tell future schools and employers that you are not capable of completing tasks, working through issues/challenges, or, however unfair an assessment, being successful.

    I hope things work out well for you!
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5867 replies10 threads Senior Member
    You might want to visit the counseling center first. Not only can they help you find ways to make Penn your home, they can help you feel better.

    It sounds like you have idealized each environment to the point that it can only fall short of expectations. This isn't unusual, but it's a recipe for disappointment. Try to focus on what's right where you are. It's not easy to be present and be grateful, but it's a practice worth developing.

    I think you need to stay put at Penn and work on finding happiness there. Wishing you the best.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9384 replies502 threads Senior Member
    I agree 100% with @gardenstategal . You need to stop chasing what doesn’t exist. There is no perfect school. It isn’t your friends who have changed. They stayed there, and you left. Of course it’s not going to be the same as when you attended Emory.

    Go to the counseling center. It’s free. Make an appointment and keep it. You seem a master of indecisiveness, and transferring back and forth is likely going to mean more time in college, more money, and worse, more uncertainty. Without good letters of rec from profs, it will be hard to get back into Emory, which is hardly a second rate school.

    You need to make it work. Plan your classes for next semester. That’s what academic advising is for. Stop running away from preconceived idealistic notions. You’re becoming an adult, and it’s time to start making adult decisions. Presumably your parents are paying for your education, so you need to consider their purse strings and respect their view. Maybe they won’t mind, but I think I’d put my foot down at transferring back to the place you just left. You’re not even half way done with this year. Give things time.
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  • rickle1rickle1 2036 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Being "Present" is difficult for many. It takes focusing on what you're actually doing and enjoying the ride vs. always looking to the future (the future is great for goal setting but you need to live in the present to actually enjoy things).

    What do you like at Penn? Can you recreate some of the things you liked at Emory (it will never be exactly the same but maybe close). What do you like to do? Can you do some of that at Penn? Build a life of enjoyment where you are.

    Being present means: Not wanting to do something else, not wanting to be somewhere else, not wanting to be with someone else, etc. It's actually takes effort and requires you to be open to that type of thinking. Otherwise you're constantly in "want" mode which is unattainable.

    Here's an exercise that may help you. Rather than viewing things from where you're headed, start looking at things from where you started. If you are Point A and you're always looking at Point B, you're never satisfied (because Point B keeps moving). However if you gauge things from where you started and focus on the progress you've made, it's a much more satisfying experience. Yes you want and need goals, but take some time to celebrate your progress. That will keep you "present".
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3524 replies49 threads Senior Member
    Sounds like you need some professional help.

    The grass is not always greener.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2342 replies3 threads Senior Member
    There's always a "would've," "could've," or "should've" fantasy. If you let the fantasy overtake you, then you're right, nothing will make you happy. Fantasy can't compete with real life. What you need to do is stop fantasizing before you make yourself more miserable. It's not the college's job to make you happy. You have to be the one to do that. It's OK if a school doesn't meet all your expectations. Just embrace what you have and move forward with it. Happiness is not a destination, it's just a series of small choices everyday.
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  • MusakParentMusakParent 1022 replies9 threads Senior Member
    It's not the school. It's you. You've only been at Penn a month or so. You are very likely following the same pattern of discontent you followed last year. Talk to a therapist. Maybe treatment for anxiety or depression is in order.

    Do you have parents involved? Can you talk to them about how your feeling? Maybe a commuter situation would be better for you if you're going to make a change and you're struggling with your mental health. Please focus on that first.
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  • AndorvwAndorvw 360 replies9 threads Member
    Try Brown, it has friendly campus feeling with happy students.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2351 replies44 threads Senior Member
    If Emory was so wonderful, why did you apply to transfer.

    I agree it is time to "bloom where you're planted". That doesn't mean you can't get a little help from counseling services and whatnot, but you should commit to making the best of your next three years at Penn.

    Go out and find a job or an internship. Get to know some professors. Play some intramural sports. Make the most of your time on campus.
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