Talk of transferring seems to be an everyday topic of conversation among members of the freshman class. I’ve heard my friends, roommates and classmates discuss the option since my first month at GW.
Evidently the question, “to transfer or not to transfer,” primarily lives only in freshmen’s minds, because the retention rate at the University is higher than ever.
Yet even with this in mind, my fellow freshmen can’t seem to avoid the question.
Most freshmen I’ve spoken to aren’t necessarily unhappy with GW; they simply feel no connection to it. They have become comfortably situated in their individual groups, which seem to operate independently – and not as part and parcel of – the University.
Freshman year is about integrating and finding a place on campus, and even when students find their niches in small groups or student organizations, they still seem to feel alienated from the “GW community” at large.
As much as people stress that joining student organizations is the way to find your place on campus, this is not as easy as it seems. Freshmen already chose GW over so many other schools – now why do they have to choose a slice of the community? It can often be easier to consider leaving.
To create a community that welcomes freshmen as early as their first day, student groups must rethink their place at GW and realize they owe it to the University to consider community connection as a whole, in addition to the group development or recruitment of new members they strive for.
More collaboration among different groups and even more University-wide events should foster the community we need. Student groups must realize they are here because of GW; they all revolve around the same comically large bust of George Washington. Not the other way around. Perhaps then, freshmen will have fewer reasons to even consider transferring.
Freshmen should view themselves as not apprehensive outsiders trying to find a niche community, but as involved members of a larger community.
Jacob Garber is a freshman majoring in English.