Interview with a First-Year Transfer Student


Eric (above) is a first-year transfer student majoring in finance in the Fisher College of Business. He transferred from Passaic County Community College in Wayne, NJ.

What attracted you to Ohio State, and what made you decide to apply?

I was always aware of the great reputation Ohio State had regarding academics and athletics. Coming from a small community college in New Jersey, I decided I wanted to change my life in a dramatic way. The size of Ohio State intrigued me because I was searching for a school that could provide me with ample social, academic, and professional opportunities. When I took a campus tour, I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. My gut feeling actually played a major role in my decision to apply. I felt I had to be here.

What are Ohio State’s best qualities and drawbacks?

The campus is beautiful. The interaction between professors and students is phenomenal, especially if you are willing to go to office hours and meet with your professors one-on-one. The food is excellent compared to other schools, both on and off campus. Student life is awesome if you are willing to sometimes step outside your comfort zone and get involved. There is so much to get involved in including intramural sports, clubs and Greek life.

The only downside for me was getting used to the sheer size of the campus and the amount of students here. It definitely took me a few weeks to learn how to navigate my way around campus without getting lost. Sometimes it feels hard to stand out among all the other students here, but I advise all first-year students to get involved with different student organizations and clubs so that they find their niche.

You are in a fraternity. How has that affected your college experience?

Being in a fraternity has made a strong social impact in my life. I definitely have a special bond with the members who joined at the same time as myself. My fraternity interacts with the community through our work with charities and we are heavily involved with intramural sports. But I wouldn’t say joining Greek life is completely necessary to enhance your social life. As long as you get involved through clubs and student organizations then you will meet a ton of unique individuals and make strong bonds.

How has your experience at Ohio State been different from  your previous institution?

Ohio State is totally different from my previous institution because I feel that I am truly on my own here. I cannot stress enough the idea of learning independence. You discover so much about yourself. At Ohio State you need to motivate yourself because there is no one to make you do your schoolwork, set your schedule, or get to class on time. I have gained a better sense of self and often find myself maturing because I simply have to in order to succeed. There are lots of academic resources available to students but it’s up to the student to take the initiative and utilize these resources.

Tell me more about the professors.

Most of the professors that I’ve had thus far have been brilliant. Most have been published many times. Since I am majoring in business, I am aware that the professors have various certificates including CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CFA (Certified Financial Analyst) MBA (Masters in Business Administration), and PhDs. The professors have had careers in business before teaching here. They are always trying to help you and I feel that they truly care about students.

Any advice for incoming/current first-year students?

Get involved! I cannot stress that enough. Get involved early and often. It is never too late to meet people through clubs and student organizations. You just need to make the effort to do so. There’s nothing worse than feeling alone on this relatively large campus. So take a step outside of your comfort zone and realize that you have the ability to determine your social and academic outcomes here at Ohio State.

Things I would say to my 18-year-old self

I have a confession to make.

I wasn’t always this cool!


Okay, maybe I lied…I’m still not cool, but there is one thing that I can say definitively: I have grown up a heck of a lot faster than I ever thought I would.

Yes, we have all heard that cliché statement that college is the best years of our lives and that you will become who you were always meant to be here, and until recently I can honestly say I didn’t agree. I am not trying to be that melodramatic guy who says that the light has finally shown on me and now I’m this great person, but as I near my date of graduation there is this sort of reflection period, a sense that has sort of come over me. How have I changed? What have I changed? What could I have done differently?

Oh dear, why is this image of my eighteen year old self coming to mind?! Me, getting ready to graduate high school, aspiring to be someone different, the excitement of the unknown!

But what if there was a way to go back in time and say something to your younger self? What would you say and how would you say it? It’s hard to just pick one thing, one piece of advice that encompasses everything these past four years have taught me and then…aha! (light shining from the heavens moment)…I got it…TAKE RISKS! Taking a risk might seem easy but it’s truly not, it is something that I had to struggle with day in and day out these past four years.

I changed my major and transferred to Ohio State. I met new people and tried new things. All of that involved me taking risks! So here it is. I sit myself down, tell myself to listen, and say it one more time (because I tend to be a little distracted and forgetful every now and then):

I have gone through more than I could ever have imagined in the past four years. You may or may not follow my same path. You may be a lot smarter than me and do things I never could, but there is one thing that you have to promise me: day in and day out I want you to take risks! Because only when you take a risk and push yourself out of your comfort zone will you be able to grow as a person!

I understand this whole thing is mostly about my advice for my younger self but it does carry weight for others. Whether you take more risks or commit to a different goal, take a good look at yourself and see what you have done recently and focus on that, because only then will you be able to see the type of person you have become!

TRANSFERable Advice

It was that feeling all over again that you get when you’re moving from kindergarten to first grade or middle school to high school. Am I going to fit in? Am I going to get lost? Am I going to succeed? After leaving a small university of only 3,500 undergraduate students (with only three stop lights in the entire town!), I was somewhat nervous to begin another phase of my life at a school of about 60,000 students.

I started my first day like any other, except this time my mom wasn’t there to hold my hand like she did when I got on the bus for first grade, and my friends weren’t there to walk with me in between classes. I was alone.  I had to make the transition by myself and deal with such a large campus and a completely different environment. I remember the whole first week of classes I had no idea where I was going…just walking around randomly hoping to find the right building or using a map on the phone but pretending that I was just on Facebook so I didn’t stick out as the “new” kid. After the first week I was asking myself, “did I make the right decision?”.

I kept contemplating that question in my head throughout the next week until I received an email. I remember opening the email expecting it to be spam or something that I probably wouldn’t be interested in. The email was talking about opportunities to attend lunches and dinners with a group that called themselves TSAB (Transfer Student Activities Board). I kept going back and forth in my head whether this was even worth my time. What if it’s awkward or what if no one even goes? I finally convinced myself to go and I honestly believe that it is why I really do feel like a Buckeye and have embraced the change.

TSAB is more than just a group that puts on activities and gives you something to do during the week. This group makes you realize you aren’t alone in your transition from schools or the work force. You’re able to build connections with not only the board members but other undergraduate students in similar situations. Everyone has a different story to tell but at the same time everyone can relate to that initial feeling of being overwhelmed or scared of such a large school.

I am now currently a board member for TSAB and it has been an experience I would not trade for the world. I love being able to hear all of the different stories that different transfer students have and being able to help them transition to Ohio State. There’s nothing better than realizing you’ve made an impact on someone’s life, no matter how small.

Transfer students: I now encourage you to take that next step, whether you’ve been here for multiple semesters or only one. Come to one of the TSAB events this semester.  I promise that you will no be disappointed if you come in willing to make connections and to just have fun. There’s usually FREE food too, so why wouldn’t you come? Also, if you end up enjoying the TSAB events and are interested in making an impact on someone’s life, I encourage you to submit an application to become a board member for TSAB! Our applications will be available next week, so check the FYE website for more details soon.

Our next TSAB event is Improv Night on Sunday, Feb. 16th @ 8 p.m. in the Cartoon Room of the Ohio Union. Keep in the loop about all our events and activities by following us on Facebook and Twitter!

I now accept and embrace that I am a Buckeye.  Yes, I am technically a transfer student and I enjoy telling my story, but I also don’t let that alienate me.  I am part of the Buckeye family now; I am no longer alone.