Transfer Roundtable: “The End” - An Open Conversation with Yale Transfer Students

Hi there! Welcome to the third and final “Transfer Roundtable” blog! I’ve had the pleasure of talking with Kayla and Laura about their first year at Yale (“The Beginning”), with Dianna and Stephan about their transfer halfway mark (“The Middle”) and am so excited to be speaking with Priya and Marie about “The End” of their Yale transfer experience.

So, let’s meet Priya and Marie.

Meet Priya (they/them), an Ethics, Race, and Migration major in Branford and another fellow Californian (also a rockstar on the side).

Priya (on the right) transferred from Foothill College in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are co-captain of MonstRAASity (a Raas dance team), a bassist/occasional vocalist for Medusa & the Polyps, a writer for the Yale Actual Weekly News, a Transfer Peer Advisor, previous Pedagogical Partner, and co-creator of the WYBC Transfer Tabs radio show.

Meet Marie (she/her), an English major in Saybrook College who was one of the head Transfer Peer Advisors for my cohort (how time has flown by).

Marie transferred from Wesleyan University. She is the Social Action Chair of the Pi Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, a member of the Fence Club, and previous Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Daily News Magazine. She was also the 2V coxswain on the Men’s Crew Team, has been involved in various theater productions, and started a group called The Salon for freshman and sophomore Black women on campus to get together and share experiences.

Me: I asked my previous guests, Dianna and Stephan, what three words they would use to describe their first year. Considering that you both are now in your final semester at Yale, what three words come to mind when you think back to your first year?

Marie: Isolating, mainly because I transferred during the pandemic. Actually, as I think now, this question is so hard to answer because EVERYTHING was affected by the pandemic. Second semester was less isolating, but I was also in my suite with my suitemates a lot, so maybe another word is coddling.

Priya: In three words, my first year at Yale was pretty [flipping] hard. Now? It’s been turbulent, memorable, and bittersweet.

Me: As I am approaching my final semester this upcoming Fall, I relate to all those words so much. The first year can be isolating in a lot of ways and it’s also a very difficult transition to go through. But, like you said Priya, now it’s extremely bittersweet knowing that everything is your last here at Yale. Marie, how has Yale senior year treated you? Where is the Yale experience leading you after graduation? 

Marie: Yale has treated me so well! I’m involved or have been involved in a lot of activities and love making friends, so I feel like I’m coming out with a great support network. Senior year is super social and fun but also comes with the stress of finishing your thesis and planning for the future. I got into Columbia Journalism School! I haven’t committed yet, but I’m pretty sure I will accept. I’m super excited!

Me: Congratulations Marie, that’s amazing! Something I’ve always mentioned to prospective transfer students is that while the first year can be challenging, you’ll soon build your own “support network” here whether that consists of one other person or of twenty. Change happens a lot while you’re in college and it’s nice to have people to go through that change with you. Priya, do you feel more comfortable or confident now that you’re in your final year at Yale?

Priya: Being in my second year at Yale, my last semester at Yale, I’m still figuring out how to navigate this place. I think by the time I feel somewhat settled every semester, something happens to uproot that– or it’s simply the end of it and it doesn’t matter anymore. There’s something about college that doesn’t let you rest, even if it seems like all the conditions are perfect and theoretically, you should be fine. At a certain point, you have to come to terms with the constant turbulence and try to be resilient through it– whether it’s through art, therapy, journaling, friends, going home, not going home, consuming Shake Shack against the wishes of your GI system, or curling up and crying under your Peppa Pig blanket on the futon that’s been left in your suite for the past 3 years. 

Me: Priya, I think you just perfectly described the college experience as “coming to terms with the constant turbulence and trying to be resilient through it.” Sometimes it can be easy, especially for transfer students, to think that they must have everything figured out and that their plans can’t change. However, I know many transfer students who’ve switched majors, joined new sports or stopped playing them completely. For you Marie, how did transferring change your trajectory or the plan you came in with?

Marie: At Wesleyan I was planning to double major in film and CSS, which is most similar to EP&E at Yale. My long-term plan was to start my own film production company. Now, I am an English major and I want to write at the intersection of fashion/beauty/arts/culture/tech. I’ve always wanted to pursue a creative field, so that hasn’t changed but I think my notion of what I want to do has only grown more expansive as I’ve gotten older. The largest change is probably that I decidedly see myself as a writer rather than a filmmaker, and I think deciding to major in English at Yale, #1 English department in the country, rather than Film Studies cemented that shift. I spent the pandemic at home writing a lot of nonfiction, so I came into Yale wanting to pursue that interest. 

Me: Turning to you Priya, has there been anything about your Yale experience/Yale life now that you did not expect? For me, I would have never thought I would be a blogger for the Admissions Office writing about the transfer experience. I hadn’t seen a lot of transfer representation on any Yale platform and it’s a bit surreal to now think that I’m writing blogs about the transfer community and have even done a few Instagram takeovers for Yale.

Priya: I did not expect to thoroughly enjoy society. I joined a historically all-female, now all-non-men thanks to my existence, society, so I initially thought it would be sorority-core. But I’m glad I stuck with it, because I’ve met some really cool people and got to do some really fun things, and it’s not sorority-core at all. Especially as a transfer, it’s allowed me to meet more people in my class and make friends with those whom I never would have crossed paths with otherwise.

Me: It’s very true that unless you try things out at least once, you’ll never know whether you like something or not. There’s an exciting aspect about that, especially if positive things happen as a result like making new friends in your case Priya. Something I asked Dianna and Stephan in our conversation that I want to ask you, Marie, was whether you feel like you’ve missed out on anything because of transferring? 

Marie: No! I honestly think being a transfer has made my Yale experience even more rich than someone who matriculates as a normal freshman. And I will say that talking to a transfer student who explained that the transfer experience was much different from coming in as a first year was something that swayed me towards Yale. This is mainly because I have something to compare Yale to, so I don’t take “normal” Yale things for granted. I see this most in my interpersonal relationships. I love the residential college system, but I do think it breeds convenience relationships and lots of people stay friends with their first-year suite even if those people aren’t “their people.” I think being a transfer allowed me to make really authentic connections with a wide variety of people, without feeling obligated to one “scene” over another. I will say though that I think being a transfer demands this sort of go-getter spirit. You really have to put yourself out there and get involved around campus and not get caught up in needing a secure group, at least in my opinion.

Me: It’s definitely true what you just said about putting yourself out there. I was and still am a bit of a shy person but, especially during my first year at Yale I didn’t push myself out of my comfort zone as much as I should have to meet new people and participate in new activities. However, I’ve now developed the confidence to have new experiences and interact with new people and I think a lot of that is due to me recognizing that as a transfer student you sometimes have to seek out opportunities and people. It can be scary but it’s not impossible, especially once you understand that most of your transfer cohort is in the same boat.

I want to thank you both so much for joining me in this conversation. It makes me sad knowing I won’t see either of you when I return for my final semester in the Fall but, I wish you both nothing but luck in your future endeavors. Before we officially end, what has been your most memorable Yale experience?

Marie: I don’t have one memory coming to mind, but my time at Fence definitely holds a special place in my heart. I got tapped in my junior fall and it became such a larger part of my social life than I ever expected. For those who don’t know, Fence is an unincorporated frat that is now a co-ed social group. I definitely never would have seen myself living in the Fence house, which I currently am, when I first got tapped for the group, and I think that speaks to the sense of community I’ve derived from the space. 

Priya: Making grenadine snow cones with fellow transfer and life-long roommate Kelly in the subzero cold.