How First Generation Students may feel when transferring

Many of us who are First Generation students in community college are going to finally be transferring, even if it was after two or seven years of being in community college, students are achieving it. The forging of new paths for future generations. Creating a safe place for others to feel included and seen. Many are making mistakes and learning, so others who follow do not make the same ones. The importance of transferring and graduating from a four year university is something to be incredibly proud of. 

Filling Out Applications  

The nervousness that comes when filling out UC applications. I personally know I messed up about fifty times before being able to submit my applications. It is a scary, yet satisfying moment to finally press the submit button on the common application. Students who are applying for the first time can be feeling the anxiety of not wanting to mess up their applications. As well as not being able to afford an application.

The applications can be confusing honestly from the essays to not knowing how to submit transcripts. A lot of students can struggle with asking for help from counselors. Many students grow up independently. I remember thinking if I can explain what the doctor wanted from my mom at eight I can figure this out too. However, it’s always better to ask questions if you need help to fill out any part of the application or after questions. A lot of first time applicants can have a build up of stress or anxiety when applying.  

Rollercoaster of emotions 

I definitely cannot speak for others when I say this, but those last minute emotions can be quite overwhelming. The guilt if you are accepted or not accepted into the four year can create one of many feelings. I was able to bring up the topic with a coworker who is transferring to one of the amazing Cal states. I asked if they ever felt guilty? She responded with 

“Guilt is a normal feeling. I felt guilty when I realized I had to ask my parents to pay a good amount of money after fafsa for my education. I also felt guilty when I wasn’t accepted last year for the spring transfer. I’m working hard for my family in the end, so it felt like a punch to my gut when I didn’t get accepted. I felt as if I let them down.” 

Many first Gen students will go through a roller coaster of emotions when transferring this is completely normal and okay. It is an exciting moment for many of us to achieve big things. However, not knowing what comes next can be very stressful. Understanding that many of us are just doing our best to our knowledge is okay. The feelings of first generation students have gone through a study that suggests first generation college students are more likely to suffer from anxiety than those who are not. Although there are still more studies to be done to prove it.

What Next

Be excited and proud of who you are and where you are going. Remember to be proud of your achievements. Soon those feelings will subside and I wish each transfer student the best of luck wherever they go.

Source of study:

Noel, Jonathan K et al. “Depressive and anxiety symptoms in first generation college students.” Journal of American college health : J of ACH, 1-10. 27 Jul. 2021, doi:10.1080/07448481.2021.1950727