Spilling the Tea… Why I Transferred Colleges

Teresa Barker

Time to Spill My Own Tea

I transferred colleges. Not that it’s really that big of a deal, but this whole thing has felt like a big ordeal. It actually took months to convince everyone in my life that this was the right decision for me, which wasn’t easy for anybody. And yet as I’m sitting here writing this blog post, happier than I’ve been in 2 years, I can’t help but wish I had just done what I knew was best for me in the first place and transferred much sooner. But, I’m here now, and that’s what counts. Everything happens for a reason, you know?

So, Why Did I Leave Villanova?

For any of you reading who don’t know, I went to Villanova University right after I graduated high school. Why did I choose to go there over the other 3 schools I got into? (I only applied to 4 schools btw):

  • I got in for my major, computer engineering, and they have an excellent program
  • it was close enough to home but not too close, so I thought I could get “the college experience” without getting homesick
  • it was a good size – I liked the idea of a small-ish school with more personal classrooms where I actually got to learn directly from profs

pretty basic stuff, right?

Well, there’s actually more to it.

I didn’t realize I was thinking this way when I made my choice, but in retrospect it’s painfully obvious. Truthfully, I didn’t choose Villanova for myself; I chose it for some made-up, fictional version of myself that existed in my mind. It sounds weird, but you’ve probably done the same thing before, too.

For example:

Perhaps a better example of this is when someone has a crush, but when they finally get to date their crush, they don’t like them anymore; and it’s because they liked the idea of being in that relationship, more than they really wanted to be dating that person.

So, I kept imagining this version of Terry who would be wearing nice trendy (e.g. preppy) clothes, going out to frats and being super social, being able to say I’m a computer engineer, and other things that sounded really good. Emphasis on the fact that it sounded good. And I feel like sooo many high school seniors do this: They romanticize this version of themselves that they think they are or think they want to be for whatever reason, but it doesn’t actually align with who they truly are.

Sh*t Hit the Fan about 2 Weeks In

I remember having thoughts like “this doesn’t feel right” and “was this the right choice” only 2 weeks into the school year; right about the time the honey moon phase wears off and reality hits. Slly week was up, orientation was long gone, and suddenly everything felt real.. and wrong.

I had brought it up casually to friends, family, and my boyfriend that I wasn’t totally clicking with Villanova. They assured me that it was simply first-semester uncertainties, and they would soon fade. It felt like everyone was telling me the same things:

Once you…

…meet a couple of people you connect with, everything will feel fine…

…settle into your classes, everything will feel fine…

…get involved with something on campus, everything will feel fine…

& other sayings like that. I wanted it to workout. I really did. That’s why I tried to listen and implement what everyone was telling me.

But after 2 months, I still wasn’t happy. In fact, I wasn’t very happy at all. I felt isolated, disconnected, and like I just wanted to go home. It made me feel lame, because college is supposed to be this crazy exciting part of everyone’s lives, so why wasn’t that the case for me? I’d scroll through social media and just compare my life to others. Why did they look so happy and full of life, and I was sitting here so unhappy? Why did I feel like I just wanted to leave so badly?

Winter Break 2016

Winter break of 2016 came and went, and before I knew it I was crying about having to go back to school. It wasn’t like I hated Villanova itself, I just hated how I felt when was there. I felt so unlike myself, for reasons I couldn’t articulate very clearly, but the way I felt was clear to me. And clear to everyone else, too. Everyone could see how unhappy I was, and yet nothing was ever enough for the people closest to me to be like “yup this isn’t right we need to let her come home.”

I know I’m making them out to sound like the bad guy, but in their defense, I wasn’t exactly a ray of sunshine during that whole time either. I was emotional, upset and moody, even saying I just wanted to drop out and not ever go back to school again. But, that’s because I was just so upset at school, that thinking I would just go to another school and feel just as awful, depressed, and anxious as I was feeling at Villanova didn’t make any logical sense to me. During my first year, it just felt like school in general was the problem. I didn’t realize yet that it just wasn’t the right school for me.

Another Year Came & Went

And I didn’t feel any differently. It actually just felt like I was getting worse and worse. Which sucked, because all anyone wanted for me was also what I wanted for myself: to be happy. But that just wasn’t happening for me there.

I had also realized after a couple of engineering classes that I wasn’t interested in working as a computer engineer. Instead, my true interests were with website design & development, hence I started this blog. But, Villanova didn’t have much in terms on website design & development. So, I would go to classes everyday and learn something that I wasn’t interested in nor interested in working in the field of, and that only added to how helpless I was feeling.

Most People Couldn’t Tell How Unhappy I Was

Things looked good on the outside: I had decent grades in my classes, friends on campus, my own dorm room (after having a crazy roommate my freshman year), a good part-time job as a barista, and I was playing on an intramural soccer team. At that point, I had a list of reasons of why I should be happy and loving it at Nova. But, no matter how full that list got, it felt like I was getting emptier. I was barely eating, I was skipping a lot of classes because I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed, and my boyfriend would come up to see me or take me to his house every weekend because I just couldn’t stand to be on campus any longer than I had to.

Spring 2018

Sh*t really hit the fan this semester. I had been at Villanova for almost 2 whole years and I was still so unhappy.

By this time, I had countless conversations with my parents about how this just wasn’t working and I needed to leave. I wasn’t sure where I was going to leave and go to, but I knew I just had to leave Villanova.

And they said no.

Now, image you were me:

I was going to a school I wasn’t happy at, studying something I wasn’t interested in, and my gut was constantly screaming at me that this wasn’t right. But yet, no one would listen to me. Once I realized that it seemed like I was really stuck there for another 2 years, that crippled me. I immediately shut down. I stopped eating, stopped attending class, and stopped communicating with friends because of how hopeless I felt. Then on top of how depressed I was feeling, I felt this immense guilt for feeling like I was ungrateful of this amazing opportunity to go to a good school where so many  people don’t have the chance to get an education. That guilt only added to the weight I felt on my chest and further disabled me from even wanting to move from my bed.

Finally, I Had Enough. I Told Them I Was Coming Home

I had bent and bent for 2 years but finally I snapped, and I felt broken. And finally, my parents saw how low I was and agreed that coming home was the best decision for me. I don’t begrudge them; it’s hard as a parent to know when to push and what to let the pressure off. Especially when they had 3 other kids who went to college before me and didn’t give them as much trouble as I had. They did the best they could, and in the end, they only wanted what’s best for me, and after a long time we finally agreed on what that was.

So, I Packed Up My Things

And I moved back home. I forget where I read it, because I read a lot of personal development articles, but there was this one quote I read before that goes something along the lines of:

“You can’t heal in the environment that broke you.”

I ended this past spring semester early and came home. Truthfully, I didn’t have a plan at that time about my next move, I just knew I needed to get back to feeling like myself again after feeling so unlike myself for too long.

Where I Am Now

Sitting here writing this out, it feels like all of this craziness was sooo long ago. Truly, I feel like a different person than I was only 7 months ago. Like Teresa 2.0. 

For instance, I go by Teresa now instead of Terry. Everyone I’ve met and become friends with at my new school knows me by Teresa and honestly, I like the sound of it. My practical self knows it doesn’t really matter, because both are my name. But the ~poetic~ voice inside of my head feels like it’s like that old me is gone for good, and this new & improved version – the true version – of me is here to stay.

I Decided Transferring Colleges Would Be Best for Me

During my time off this past spring and summer, I had a lot of time to think. Ultimately I decided to I transfer colleges to Penn State Abington, and I am so much happier here it’s unbelievable. I’m majoring in IST which is Information, Sciences and Technology. Specifically, within that major I’m pursuing the Design & Development option because of how interested in Website Design and Development I am.

Other Reasons Why I Transferred to Penn State Abington

I’ll just list them out to keep it sweet and simple:

  1. Commuting. While most people may dislike it, I tried living in a dorm room and it didn’t add to the infamous “college experience.” On the contrary, I didn’t like it very much, and with the amount I was coming home/going to Erick’s anyways it didn’t seem logical to live on campus somewhere. Plus, I personally like that I can go to school and then go home; it makes me feel like I have more freedom.
  2. My Dream Major. Penn State Abington has this IST major which enables me to not only learn about coding and website development, the curriculum also lets me have freedom to take Spanish classes and Business classes, which computer engineering at Villanova didn’t permit because of how many required courses there were.
  3. Cost-Effective. It’s no secret that Villanova is a very expensive school and Penn State Abington is a much more affordable option in comparison. No, I didn’t leave Villanova for how much it costs. But yes, Abington’s price is much more manageable in terms of limiting the debt I’ll graduate with.
  4. Great School. I considered the idea of community college, but I decided against it because a) I already had an idea of what I wanted to major in and b) I’d have to transfer to a school like Penn State Abington anyways.
  5. Familiarity. My brother, his girlfriend, and our best friend had all gone to Penn State Abington while I was at Villanova and so I already knew a little bit about it. They gave me their honest take on it, and they all had a generally positive experience, which only enforced the idea that it was a good school choice.

I’m Finally Happy & Thriving

It’s crazy how much can change in only seven months. I went from feeling too depressed to get out of my dorm room bed, to jumping out of bed in the morning to drive to my 8am class. Like, this is literally just going to be a paragraph of me saying how crazy it is how much happier I am now that I transferred haha but it’s because it really is just mind boggling how much my life has changed!! I mean, my family and friends have literally just stopped and said to me “Wow, Ter, you really do look happier.” It’s like this internal glow that’s been gone for 2 years is finally back shining inside of me. :’)

I mean, here I am now: loving all of my classes, getting straight-A’s, playing division 3 college soccer, blogging in between classes, and just feeling like me. There really is no better feeling than feeling like yourself again.

Leaving You With Something I Learned the Hard Way

So, I know I shared a lot with you guys. But I really just want to end this with a piece of advice. There’s a chance that if you’re taking the time right now to sit here and read my blog, that maybe we have a little bit in common. Maybe you’re like me, where you’re generally a good kid who has tried to make her parents happy and proud of her. Well, there’s going to come a time in life where you might have to put your foot down and disappoint them deeply because it means doing what you trust in your gut is best for you. It’s a part of growing up, and you’ll both get through it. Just know it’s okay to do what you have to do to live your best life and be your best self.

Thank you for reading. & If you have any questions about college/transferring I’d be happy to talk more about it. Just comment below.

much love,

♥️, Teresa