By Lauren Walsh
I transferred from a college of 20,000 to a university with a student body of 45,000 – I should have met somebody by now! I assumed that sitting at a café or the library may entail a casual conversation with a stranger, but for me and many transfer students, this is not the case.
Instead, transferring to Michigan State University as a sophomore or junior comes with obstacles when trying to obtain any kind of relationship. Unlike freshman students who enter the dorms with an instant connection with their roommates and communal diners, many transfer students come to MSU unfamiliar with the student social life at a large campus.
I’m not alone in my theories – fellow transfer student and communications junior Emily Bunn said, “A big part of starting out at MSU as a freshman is getting to know so many people in the dorms, and I feel like I missed out on that opportunity.”
As I walk among fellow Spartans, my status is imperceptible to those other students, and a simple introduction in class usually doesn’t lead to outside plans. This leaves us to the rare situation found between transfer students and prospective relationships. Having already been here two months, finding instant reliable friends or even someone to date seems inevitable. When attending casual get-togethers, I assume that the chance of meeting that certain somebody would be promising, but most of the guys I meet are completely unaware about how to make an advance toward a girl, and the ones who do already have girlfriends. This disheartening situation should have a section on the MSU Facebook page with the headlines “Relationship status: Complicated.” On any given night, these feelings of disappointment only persist as I go to different bars or parties.
At least I am not alone in my frustration. “When I moved here I thought I’d meet people instantly, but the students in my classes are completely silent, and meeting someone at a bar seems reckless and unpredictable,” said fellow transfer student and accounting junior Abby Maynard.
Unless you’re a freshman attending common house parties where meeting someone has infinite possibilities, dating for transfer students should come with a “Dummies” handbook. The guide should include a rulebook about where to not meet people in East Lansing, outlining places that have worked for others and ways to have the confidence to actually make that daunting first move that could be the start of something new and exciting. Finding a romantic relationship in college is a common goal of many students, but transfer or not, being single in college seems to be the vast majority. Regardless of those exceptional committed relationships out there, college students will be college students and will play the field.
“I was seeing this guy who is also a transfer student, and thought since we had this common ground that maybe it would last, but after a long weekend of tailgating and parties, I never heard back from him,” said business sophomore, Kelly Atlas.
Since there are so many choices and interests at a university, many students prefer to stay single and enjoy the “diversity” that MSU has to offer. So, when a transfer student does finally meet that certain somebody, how are they supposed to keep that individual interested? In life, everything is a game; whether it involves competing against others for a job or internship or maintaining a relationship with a potential partner. As difficult as it is to find that possible girl or boyfriend, it is more difficult to make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd. As Beyoncé sang, “All the single ladies, all the single ladies, I got gloss on my lips, a man on my hips, got me tighter than my Dereon jeans, acting up, drink in my cup, I can care less what you think.” So, take her wise words, put on your favorite jeans, hell, drink tea in that cup, if that’s who you are. All that matters is that you’re being yourself.
As an active participant in this transfer student relationship strategy, I urge all you who transferred or even single romantics to belong to the various societies MSU has to offer. After joining clubs that relate to my major and hobbies, not only did I gain the resume building, but I discovered a new way to meet people that have the same interests and future goals. Whether it’s joining a study group, ethnic dance club, an intramural sport or the Greek system, the more people you meet, the bigger the social group you will gain and discover a further sense of belonging.
So the next time you’re sitting in a café, ask the person next to you what they’re reading or extend a simple smile or “hello.” Being nice never hurts, and it could spur a rewarding relationship or at least a funny story to tell about with your friends.