Transfer students experience campus life for the first time after a year of online learning

Haley Clark, Reporter

After being required to attend classes virtually for a year, students at California Lutheran University have made the transition back to in-person, synchronous classes for the Fall 2021 semester. 

Students that have transferred to Cal Lutheran during asynchronous learning and are now stepping foot on campus for the very first time to start their senior year. 

Senior transfer student Isabelle Leon has taken classes online at Cal Lutheran for two semesters.

“I definitely felt anxious to shift back to in-person learning. Not knowing the campus, and not really making any friends this past year online, I felt so alone and nervous. A couple of weeks in, I still only feel slightly better,” Leon said in an email interview. 

According to Pathways and Articulation towards Successful Outcomes in STEM (PASOS) Outreach Coordinator, Nazareth Bautista said 31 percent of Cal Lutheran undergraduates are transfer students. 

“I struggle connecting with others and making friends like I used to, but it could also be blamed on meeting everyone for the first time as a senior,” Leon said. “I don’t feel particularly close to people yet. I definitely do feel really lonely and out of place right now at times.”

There are lots of resources available for senior transfer students to make the most out of their short time on campus.

One of the newest resources available for transfer students in particular is the Transfer Center at Alumni Hall, Bautista said. 

“Other great resources for students are Student Support Services (SSS) – a resource for students who are the first in their family to go to college, are low-income, and/or have a disability – and ALLIES in STEM – a resource for students who are from underrepresented backgrounds and majoring in STEM fields,” Bautista said.

Senior Austin Gregory, a presidential host and a peer advisor, has worked at the admissions office for about a year and a half. During a Zoom interview, he said he has been trained to work closely with both students and transfer students and has given both in-person and virtual tours. 

“It’s definitely an interesting dynamic being back in-person but still being unable to get inside buildings, so right now it’s just about showing off the campus and the exteriors of buildings and getting people information about the university and what Cal Lutheran has to offer,” Gregory said.

Seniors can attend one of the many campus tours that are offered at Cal Lutheran. There are two tour options every day Monday-Friday at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Every tour is followed by a Q&A session with one of Cal Lutheran’s admission counselors. 

“That’s another thing that I think is really good about our tours is we always have an opportunity for prospective students, whether prospective transfers or prospective freshmen, to be able to meet with an admissions counselor,” Gregory said. “The admissions team does a really good job of having somebody from the team there to answer questions following the tour.”

Gregory said the university is good at pushing for involvement and having a lot of events and inviting the entire campus. 

“I know we’re planning on one of our big events this semester for iCLU Radio being a lip sync battle, so we’re shooting for the end of October for that right now. We’re going to try and make it special and enjoyable by welcoming all students to it,” Gregory said. “It’s all about getting involved and not being afraid to put yourself out there.” 

At Cal Lutheran there are over 100 clubs to get involved in, whether that be affinity, academic, or social clubs. 

“Connecting with one or more of these types of support systems will definitely help any student find a sense of belonging,” Bautista said. “Whether you live on campus or commute, really challenge yourself to get out there and meet people– especially since that was not an option last year.”