Courtesy of smith.edu

I’ve learned in the last year that people react strangely to the knowledge that I transferred to UR.

Other students wonder about you  — if you failed out of our previous school; if you weren’t good enough to get into UR in the first place; or if you’re just a malcontent, melancholy person. Or if you’re some strange, roving hippie who can’t stay in one place and flits between different schools and couches and thinks life is one big Grateful Dead dancing bear on the back of a Volkswagen. (That’s not me, if you were wondering.)

In my case, people’s eyebrows go up even more than normal when they find out I transferred from an all-girls school.

I know. You can raise your eyebrows at the page.

No number of disclaimers about my sexual preference can stop people from assuming that I’m some kind of raging homosexual feminist who spits out phrases like “hetero-normative patriarchy” in casual conversation.

I actually didn’t transfer because I was unhappy at an all-girls school or because I couldn’t get into UR originally (I didn’t apply when I was in high school) or even because I knew anything particular about UR as an institution. (True story: I had to ask someone what Meliora meant on my first day of January transfer orientation. Wrong question to ask, I know.)

I made a blind leap of faith, an impulsive and drastic decision to change my physical coordinates in the absurd hope that it would change my mental coordinates.

It didn’t, of course.

The only thing to do has been to go forward, more or less, even though, like John Lennon said, it’s hard to do that when you’re not sure what direction you’re facing. So here’s my list on how to be a transfer student: If you’re not one of the 30 people on campus who transferred in January, my instructions might help you empathize with us — the outlying one percent who’ve never lived in Sue B.

Don’t tell people three months into the semester that you still carry around a tattered map of campus in your backpack. This is one of the few instances where “I’m a transfer student” does not ameliorate the embarrassment.

Nod and smile when people bring up things like D-Day and act like you know exactly how you are expected to comport yourself on such occasions (not by bayoneting people on the French coast).

Come up with at least 10 different, well-rehearsed reasons to dole out to people when they ask you why you transferred. Make sure they are tailored to fit the person and the situation and remember which one you told each person in case you run into him again, or, gasp, become his friend. Come to hate this question more than snow itself.

Spend upwards of 30 hours in CCAS during your first week to make sure your credits have adequately transferred and that you are, in fact, going to graduate sometime within the next seven to eight years.

Get ridiculously excited when you find out that you are exempt from clusters because of the absurd amount of haphazard credits from four different colleges that you have, only to find out a few days later that you are only exempt from one cluster. And the one you need to complete is in the natural sciences. Spend the rest of your time at UR trying out all possible combinations of classes that can satisfy this pesky requirement.

Join an extracurricular activity. Join 10 more. Wish you could physically assault people whose advice to you is that joining a club will enable you to make friends.

Marvel at the existence of men in your classes, in the library, in the gym. Use “I’m a transfer student,” not “I transferred from an all-girls school” as your excuse for not being friends with any of them.

Realize in March or April that the age-old adage is true: No matter where you run, you always seem to wind up running into yourself.

Decide sometime around the beginning of May to stop regretting, for once in your life, that you made a mistake in impulsively transferring, and live your life at UR.

Terminate the applications you’ve started on commonapp.org and block the site. Tell yourself you are doing it so you can focus on finals, but really do it because you can’t let yourself accept that you might actually be okay in this new place.

Be OK in this new place.

Realize this place isn’t new anymore.

Throw out the map.

Buletti is a member of the class of 2013.



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