I'm a transfer student and I feel like I don't belong

November 11, 2016

Being a transfer student sucks. It’s almost the end of my first semester and I don’t feel like I have made very much progress socially (or academically, really). Any tips?

Hi there! I am not a transfer student, however, I can relate because I think everyone in their first year at Cal has some initial problems socially and academically. As far as academics go, I can not stress enough getting outside help for classes. I find that if I do not understand something that the professor is teaching, it doesn’t usually help to go to office hours or to rewatch lectures. Instead, I can actually learn the material when I have someone else try to teach it to me in a different way. This can be done by going to GSI office hours, utilizing the SLC, or paying for a tutor. As far as making social progress, I think the best way to make healthy, long-lasting relationships is to find your niche. This school has thousands and thousands of students, however joining a club or trying out for a team, or volunteering with a certain group of people allows you to meet and share experiences with people who have similar interests as you. Also, stop by the transfer student center to find out what academic workshops or social events are coming up! 

Good luck, 


Hi! Hang in there! Things will definitely get better. The first semester is usually a hit or miss for many students. It may be harder for some people to adjust than others. But, this does not mean you aren’t progressing! It is very challenging to juggle a social life, school, and extracurricular as a college student. Here are some tips to heighten your productivity at Cal:

1) Join clubs.

  • Joining an on-campus organization opens many doors to the realm of networking. It gives you the chance the meet students of all majors. Cal has so many clubs to choose from that you’re bound to find a few that piques your interest.

2) Go to events held by organizations on campus and in Berkeley.

  • I would also suggest being adventurous and attending events that are occurring on campus and in Berkeley. Oftentimes, clubs hold events and talks that all students can attend. This would be a great way to network, build your knowledge on something that interests you, and meet new people!

3) Form study groups.

  • When it comes to academics, studying with other people is an effective way of retaining information. When you study with others, you can understand the material better because you are either the one teaching it or you’re relearning the information in a different setting.

4) Do something you enjoy!

  • Personally, I found it very rewarding to find a hobby that I enjoyed on campus. For me, it was joining Cal’s Boxing Team. I didn’t try out looking for friends or anything. It was solely for me. When I eventually got on the team, friends came along with it! I found a group of people that enjoyed the sport just as much as I did. 

5) Explore nearby cities

  • If you ever have time, go explore different cities with a few friends. Invite them through Facebook or just create an event. There are so many cool cities to venture out to. It just takes a few moments to invite a few friends. Take the initiative and be bold! San Francisco and Oakland are two that are homes to amazing food and cultural diversity.

It’s normal to feel like you’re not progressing in your academics or social life but if I must say so myself, Cal is so competitive that these feelings are bound to occur. Not saying it’s going to be like this forever, but it may take a little more effort on your hand to reach out to friends and to excel academically. Take risks and if things aren’t coming to you, sometimes, you just have to chase after them. Keep your head up because Cal is a wonderful university that has yet to be entirely explored.