Transfer student survival guide: make connections

Photo Credit: Phoebe Lim

You know those friends that you don’t really know but you have on Facebook because you met once at a party? Well, in August 2014, I convinced a ‘kind-of’ friend of mine to meet me for coffee, and that is how I made my first real friend at Simon Fraser University.

A short three months earlier, I’d wrapped up my first two years of my university career at Capilano University. I’m a person who craves change, and despite the fact that I would be leaving my employment at a newspaper I loved and a campus I reveled in, I left my job, my friends, and my incredible instructors to expand my education at a new school.

When I met with my ‘kind-of’ friend in August that year, I asked her how to get a job at The Peak. After working at Capilano’s student publication, it seemed like an easy transition. Three weeks later, I was hired; five weeks later, I had gained an entire staff of friends; five months later, my ‘kind-of’ friend became my roommate. It sounds easy written in three sentences, and sometimes making friends isn’t simple, but putting yourself out there is rewarding because it can help you gain friends, a job, or maybe just simple directions.

While I knew about Nietzsche and Marx, I didn’t know that West Mall isn’t full of clothes.

I didn’t have a typical beginning at SFU: my first time to Club’s Days was not spent learning about different clubs, but promoting this paper. Being a transfer student means that although I might have known about Nietzsche and Marx, I still didn’t know what “the” avocado meant, or that West Mall isn’t full of clothes. Honestly, I still don’t know where the gym is, but I can definitely tell you all about Marshall McLuhan.

This is how I learned that one of the great aspects of transferring to a big school like SFU is that you can Google anything. I have Googled incredibly niche questions and there are always results. Not everyone on campus is excited to give directions, but the search engine on your phone will not let you down (as long as you find wifi).

My best advice for transfer students is to make connections constantly. Again, I know this is often easier said than done, but university is the time to try new things, and that includes talking to people you may have shied away from in the past. Networking is key and it is how I’ve found myself working for this newspaper and the Communication Student Union, along with being involved with two other clubs.

Talk to everyone in class and make the most out of every conversation you have. Making friends can seem scary, but being lost at SFU is scarier, and having a phonebook of people to call from the basement of the Shrum Science Centre is most definitely an advantage.