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The Reach

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First Person: “I was well prepared for the next step”

First Person: “I was well prepared for the next step”
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Phi Theta Kappa alumna Teylor Martinez and has been submitted by Mississippi College, a four-year college partner.

Beginning your college career at a community college before transferring to a university is a common and practical option for many young adults. You have the ability to take a portion of your core classes and get a better understanding of what you would like to pursue as a career. 

I began my college career at East Central Community College in Decatur, Mississippi. With the presumption of wanting to pursue medicine, I took a bigger step into focusing where I would call my home once I transferred. The obvious answer was Mississippi College. Along with their prestigious medical program, I found great financial opportunities through Phi Theta Kappa.

As a transfer student, I was thankful to have already developed good study habits and a good sense of balance between social and academic life before attending a university. A big portion of that development was influenced by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

With that being said, I was well prepared for the next step. I paid my dues by taking all of the required core classes, so I could then focus on classes that are related to my major. I soon found that life outside of class is a little different at a university than at community college. So the question was, how does a transfer student make this adjustment?

A great way to adjust to the larger atmosphere of a university is to get involved. This allows you to get to know new people, make new friends and more. This may be a little intimidating at first. You may think that you will be the only upperclassman, but I promise this is not true! Most universities have a large population of transfers, and Phi Theta Kappa helps with this adjustment.

Through the Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Chapter, there are many opportunities to get involved and reach out to the community. From participating in 5k runs and visiting nursing homes to serving at the local Salvation Army, opportunities are readily available. This honor society gave me an immediate sense of community I felt needed but, most importantly, wanted. I found connections with people that had the same goals and strived to be successful at college. It was a community that led to multiple friendships.

For me, the scholarships provided through Phi Theta Kappa relieved much of the financial pressure college students face. It allowed me to truly enjoy college and get involved on campus.

There were a few parallels between the community college I attended and Mississippi College. They both are small and have a faculty-to-student ratio that isn’t overwhelming. Throughout the years, I learned how to function academically. I learned how to be more independent. MC offered the same qualities within a close-knit community. But more importantly, I gained the discipline that was needed to succeed through Phi Theta Kappa. I was empowered by my sponsor and my peers to remain academically motivated, to thrive in the campus community, and to work toward the career I have envisioned for myself.

Transferring to a new college is completely different than coming in as a freshman, but I realized that transfers are not that different after all. Yes, we arrive a bit older than many others, but we are trying to find our way just like everyone else. It takes some time to get used to a new school no matter who you are. I didn’t know what to expect when I transferred to Mississippi College. I didn’t know anyone when I first transferred. It was strange experience to not know any of your peers at first. I had this expectation of what college would be like because I had already been there for a year. But, fortunately, my expectation proved false because Mississippi College was unlike any experience I have ever had.

I built community within Phi Theta Kappa. It gave me a foundation of friendship by knowing people that were involved in the same thing. It allowed me to meet other transfer students. My involvement in the Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Chapter provided me with instant connections that immediately made me feel as if I’d belonged at MC all along.  

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