As a transfer student that had little to no knowledge of UC Berkeley during my first year there, I understand how difficult it can be to navigate a drastically different and changing academic environment. Transferring schools, moving away and making friends — it’s a lot to handle, and the slightest bit of advice goes a long way.
For all the incoming UC Berkeley transfer students, here are some tips I gathered from my experience during my first year that can help you make the most out of your time on campus.
Contact your roommates before moving in
If you’re living on campus as an upper-division student, the odds are that you will end up in a campus apartment. These apartments usually come fully furnished, but it’s best to contact your roommates before your move-in date to settle a checklist on all the things each of you will bring for communal spaces (such as toasters, Brita pitchers or soap dispensers). This way, you can avoid bringing duplicates of the same thing. You can see who your roommates will be and get their emails through your housing portal.
Take Berkeley Connect classes
Berkeley Connect is a small mentoring program available for all students. Available for most majors, these one-unit classes meet once every two weeks and are jampacked with fun adventures and meetings to help get to know the UC Berkeley campus and community better. Also, depending on your major’s department, you can use multiple of these classes to fulfill one of your major electives. It’s a nice and easy way to get one of those requirements checked off, especially as a transfer student.
Don’t be intimidated by the bigger classes
I know being in classes far bigger than the ones we’re used to in community college is intimidating, but once you get accustomed to participating in them, it becomes much easier. There’s also a chance that your larger classes will have their own discussion sections where you can take all your questions and comments. So don’t be threatened by the course material — it’s almost the same as community college.
Impostor syndrome is real — but don’t let it overcome you
Impostor syndrome is something every incoming student has, but it’s especially challenging for transfer students. We come in thinking we’re too different because we haven’t been here since freshman year, and that feeling of not belonging increases by a million. I’m here to tell you that this feeling is entirely valid but also untrue. You, as a transfer student, do belong at UC Berkeley. Most of the people I’ve met at UC Berkeley are also transfer students, so you’re not alone. Like everyone else, you deserve to be at this school — you’ve earned it.
Indulge in everything as much as you can
As transfer students, we usually only get two years out of UC Berkeley. That’s why indulging in it as much as possible is important. Make as many good memories as you can and surround yourself with good people while you’re here. Do all the cheesy school traditions, buy all the school merchandise you want and go to the athletic games. Enjoy the most of what this school has to offer in the small amount of time you have.
Transferring schools is a significant change that can often be overwhelming. I hope these tips can help alleviate some of that stress and make your first year at UC Berkeley the best.