For transfer students like Elon University sophomore Morgan Mebane, coming to campus this August was just like being a freshman all over again. Mebane and her peers were excited to start their new college experience and get involved at Elon. And while this transition has not been easy thanks to the pandemic, transfer students across campus have felt incredibly welcomed and prepared by the school.
Thousands of students came back to Elon this semester excited to return to their home away from home. However, some — like Mebane — did not arrive to familiar faces or a recognizable campus, but were enthusiastic to start a fresh experience at Elon.
During this fall, 54 transfer students began their journey on Elon’s campus. They — like freshmen — had to learn how to navigate the challenges of meeting friends and integrating themselves into Elon’s campus during a pandemic.
Rebecca Krylow — the director of academic advising in the Koenigsberger Learning Center — helps each year’s crop of transfer students acclimate to their new environment.
While she normally meets with students in person to give them resources, Krylow created virtual academic workshops for the students throughout the summer and into orientation on a variety of topics, including mastering midterms and registering for classes. These workshops provide transfer students with some Elon basics to ease their transition in their first semester on campus.
After reaching out to the students every few weeks during quarantine, Krylow said she was incredibly pleased to have a group of really engaged transfer students this year. While they are experiencing unprecedented barriers through this transfer, Krylow said they are just as willing to socialize and make connections with their peers as other students on campus.
Krylow said the pandemic brought some challenges to her position, but she believes what she was able to accomplish virtually with these students was just as meaningful.
“I really hope they are having a positive experience,” Krylow said. “I want it to be a steady presence so that they know they have a professional service.”
Mebane said her transition this semester was very smooth and she appreciated the opportunities, organizations and faculty members like Krylow have given to transfer students across campus.
“There is always someone reaching out to me, making sure I’m doing well,” Mebane said.
She also said the Transfer Student Union has made her transition to Elon increasingly easy as it helps other transfer students really become an active student throughout the school. While almost nothing seems certain during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Transfer Student Union provided her with connections and more opportunities to mingle with other students, a place of comfort for her.
“[I] felt like I was a freshman again, but it wasn’t that hard to find new people,” Mebane said. “Stay true to yourself: that’s the best piece of advice I could give.”
Another transfer student, sophomore Kyra Fanelli, also emphasized the impact the Transfer Student Union had on her first few weeks on campus. She said it was nice to rely on an organization like this when socializing is more difficult than usual because of the pandemic.
Fanelli said her transition to Elon was “as smooth as it could be.” She said being a transfer student during the pandemic certainly had its adversities, but Fanelli found the school was incredibly welcoming and gave the students a lot of communications over the summer to prepare for their first semester. And while she described this as overwhelming, Fanelli said Elon made it as easy as they could for these students.
“Keep an open mind and get as involved as possible,” Fanelli said about what helped ease her transition. “Transferring is an overwhelming process, but it’s important to meet new people and try new things.”