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Transferring Colleges, Finding My Niche

posted by Kimberly Branas

Kimberly Branas Vogue.jpgLet me take you back to the semester before I graduated high school. I was indecisive about where I wanted to go for college. The summer before my high school graduation, I attended LIM’s Summer Fashion Lab for two weeks. I took four classes (Fashion Magazines, The Stylist’s Role, Visual Display, and “Project Fashion”) and absolutely loved it! But, I wasn’t sure I saw myself living in such a big city like NYC. I decided instead to go to SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) down in Georgia.

I was excited about attending SCAD, and friends from high school were going to attend, so I didn't feel alone. Orientation week approached, and I was feeling uneasy about this transition, because I didn’t know what to expect. I was worried about my future. So many thoughts were coming all at once.

My mom and dad moved me into my new dorm. I had never shared a room with anybody, let alone people I didn’t know. Two other girls were dorming with me. Orientation week ended, and it was time to say goodbye to my parents. Wow, what a hard moment. I cried the whole time. I didn’t know how I was going to adjust.

I started classes, and I quickly realized I didn’t fit in. I was taking design classes where professors expected me to know how to draw—I couldn’t even draw a stick figure. “What have I gotten myself into?” To make matters worse, I didn’t like the people I was dorming with. We were so different, and we couldn’t find common ground on anything.

I said to myself, “Give this a chance and see what happens,” but as the weeks passed, I found myself more and more sad. This wasn’t the right choice, and I needed to make a change.

I started looking into transferring schools. I immediately thought about LIM, where I’d had that great experience as a high school student. I thought, “Would I be able to do it? Move alone to NYC and start all over?” It was a risk I was willing to take.

I applied to LIM and got accepted. As the weeks went by and finals came and went, I started feeling more relaxed. Christmas break came, and I started packing for NYC. Now, I was so excited—it had always been my dream to study in New York, and I was about to make it happen.

I arrived at LIM and told myself to get as involved as possible at school. It really helped with my transition and making friends. I joined any club I could find that interested me, like the Styling Club and the Student Life Activities Board (SLAB), which took us to different restaurants around the city once a month! I also became a Student Mentor for incoming students at orientation and throughout the year, helping make their transition as smooth as possible. Plus, I started a retail position at Ann Taylor, where I met my BFF! None of this would have been possible if I had not made the decision to step out of my comfort zone and say yes to new things.

LIM made me feel like I belonged because it was so different from my previous college. Also, I'd finally found my academic niche, focusing on business rather than design.

There's a lesson to learn from every situation. What happened at SCAD motivated me to grow and get more involved at LIM. I strongly believe that starting my LIM experience when I did enabled me to make my life what it is now. It made me stronger, more eager, and more passionate.

Topics: Vogue, transfer student, student life, stress, Transfer Students, SLAB, Student Advice