• by Katie Garwood •

How hard will it be to start at a new university hundreds of miles away from home as an upperclassman?

Will the classes be different from what I’m used to?

Will this new school be a place I can make friends easily?

These are some of the questions that can run through every transfer student’s mind because transferring to a new school—even a small distance away—is a big change socially, emotionally, and sometimes academically.

Ace Sanchez came to the Sul Ross Alpine campus from Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde.  For Sanchez, the biggest impact of moving four hours away from his home to finish his degree was the sad realization he couldn’t make it home to every family event.

“My whole family is extremely close,” he said.  “And coming from a large family I knew right away that it was going to be impossible for me to come home for everything.  Between having school work as well as making that long drive, it just wasn’t possible for me to make trips home all the time.”

This first experience with homesickness proved to be a difficult feeling for Sanchez to overcome.

“Personally, I’m a very social person in general.  I like to stay busy with friends, if it can’t be with family.  So after moving up to Alpine and being away from the people I’m close to, the homesickness occurred right away.

“It was a hard mood to break from.  I wanted to be out of school and just go home, but I couldn’t.  I had to work to change my mindset and stay busy, so that’s exactly what I did.  That decision had an overall positive impact on my stay up here.”

Sanchez believes students shouldn’t be afraid of transferring to a far away school, but that it’s important to understand the transition will take time.  He also thinks transfer students should realize that dealing with new degrees of freedom and responsibility is a part of the college experience.

“At first I regretted transferring and being away from home, but I waited it out a couple months and found a really good group of friends,” he said.  “Now, two years later, as a senior graduating in December, I’m glad I made the change and grew to become more of an independent person.”