Dealing with the stress of college can be tricky, particularly for those transferring schools.
Rising senior Andre Buchanan, with the help of some friends, has created UM’s first-ever Transfer Student Association (TSA) with the hopes of helping students through this transition.
“We are trying to build a family amongst a family,” said Buchanan, the club’s president.
For Buchanan, who is majoring in economics and computer science, receiving an acceptance letter from his No. 1 school was exciting and rewarding. He transferred in the Fall of 2012 from Collin College in Texas.
However, when he arrived, he found that although orientation was great, it flew by quickly. Connections made in that short span of time did not last and the whole process seemed to concentrate more on incoming freshmen.
“We all mentioned problems that we have faced as transfer students from not being able to make friends, to academic problems, to simply not knowing of all of the resources available to us at UM due to having such a short orientation,” Buchanan said.
Led by a group of eight students, TSA strives to address the needs of transfer students, whether they are academic or social.
The club began working right away, with a special meeting for transfer students on Aug. 24. Though many students had already been taken on tours, club members offered specialized tours that focused more closely on individual majors and attempted to advise new students on various aspects of the campus.
Members’ majors range from nursing to journalism to biomedical engineering. With this knowledge at hand, the club’s vice president, Aakash Patel, encouraged members to take immediate advantage of the resources offered on campus.
Before beginning his tour, he offered a piece of advice to the new transfers: “Don’t build your resume, build your character.”
Joey Miller, a junior from Chicago, transferred from the University of Illinois for the opportunity to have an overall different experience.
Despite attending orientation, Miller, along with other attendees, found that orientation offers too much information in too big of a group, in too short of a period of time.
“TSA has really catered to my needs,” he said. “I feel I got lost in the crowd at Orientation.”
Of the 700 students that transferred to the University of Miami this semester, only 400 attended Orientation. Yazmine Cruz, TSA’s treasurer, found that because many students are caught up in the chore of moving in, sometimes they are not even aware of orientation.
“There is some lack of information,” Cruz said.
By the end of the campus tour, the group of sixteen sat chatting loudly in Lime as if they had known each other for months. Even after the tour, the club’s officers continued offering up information. When Miller placed his order at Lime, TSA’s academic chair Jonathan Harrington, introduced him to the concept of dining dollars.
TSA has 12 events planned out for fall semester that range from going to football games, to social gatherings, to events on how to improve your GPA.
“We kind of have our own vision, but everyone shows up for their own reasons,” Buchanan said.
With transfers from Chicago and Brooklyn, along with non-transfer executive board members and exchange students from Egypt and Spain, this newfound community is open to all students, whether or not they are transfers.
Harrington, who has attended his entire college career at UM, offered his own take on the club.
“Transfer students won’t be transfers for long, they’ll all be UM students. But as for now, transfer the easy way. Do it with us.”
For more information and to attend upcoming events, visit: https://www.facebook.com/umiamitsa.