Student Blog: It's Okay to Transfer Schools

It's so scary, but transferring schools is the best decision I could have made.

Student Blog: It's Okay to Transfer Schools
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I was a class of 2020 graduate, meaning I graduated high school and was choosing the next steps for my college career right in the beginnings of COVID. My Musical Theatre college audition journey is a little different than most. I only auditioned for about 4 schools: Illinois State University, Roosevelt University, Texas Christian University, and Cincinnati College of Music. I only passed the pre-screens for 3 of those. I was fortunate enough that I got to audition for all of the schools in person before COVID really started to affect things. The only school I got into out of all of them was Illinois State University for their Acting program. They didn’t have a Musical Theatre program at the time, but they were supposed to be adding the BA Musical Theatre major in what would be my sophomore year there. So, I accepted the offer and was ready to move there in the fall. Then, COVID took over some more and they moved all of our classes to Zoom, so I decided to save money and live at home since classes were remote. The semester started, and I was just not vibing with it. I wasn’t looking forward to doing class, I felt so so silly doing acting exercises just in my living room--it just was not what I imagined my freshman year of college to look like. I also just didn’t feel like I belonged. I was also in a major that I never really wanted in the first place. It was just not right. I was not meant to be where I was. I do chalk a lot of that up to Zoom classes. I stuck it out until it was time to audition for their new Musical Theatre program. So I auditioned, and I did not get in. That was the final straw for me. I was tired of settling. Settling for a degree that I didn’t want. Settling for something that didn’t feel right to me. That’s when I knew I wanted to possibly transfer. But that thought was so scary. I couldn’t just transfer schools, like what? That’s crazy. What if I couldn’t find anywhere else that would take me.

Later in the year, in January, my best friend Courtney asked me if I wanted to go see a show with her at a college she was looking at going to. Of course I said yes, and that school happened to be Dobbins Conservatory at Southeast Missouri State. We went and saw a brand new musical that the school was putting on called, Unlimited. We drove up and saw the show and I was truly blown away. The performers were great, the set was really cool, it was all just very cool. I knew that I wanted to go there. I wish that I was going to this school. After the show we went back and I was going back and forth on if I should apply or not or what I should do. I was confused. In the show, there was this moment where this character was so lost and confused and he didn’t know what to do. The light boxes were all red and as he was singing. He reached out and grabbed the box and it turned from red to white and all the sudden he found this new clarity. He knew exactly what to do. Everything was crystal clear. Well, later that week, after I saw the show we were worshiping at church and I still felt stuck. I closed my eyes and I just sang. Then the minute I opened my eyes, those same light boxes at church turned from red to white. And that was God. That’s when I knew. This was the right thing to do and what I needed to do. In the following weeks, I sent out a few emails, and sent in my auditions and waited. Then I got asked to do an interview and the next thing I knew I was accepted into Dobbins Conservatory’s BFA Musical Theatre program. All I ever wanted. I’ve been here for almost three years now and I never once thought about leaving. This is where I am meant to be. 

The thought of transferring schools was so scary. And I was so frustrated at the time. I felt stuck. Stuck in something I didn’t want to be in. And I didn’t understand why I was where I was at the time. I didn’t fully understand it until after I transferred and got settled in my new home. I owe so much to transferring to Dobbins. I would never have met the amazing and wonderful friends I have now. I wouldn’t be living in a house with four other girls who I absolutely love to laugh and do life with. I would never have found out about The short play festivals in New York that I’ve been a part of, I never would have performed at 54 Below and honestly I don’t think I would have started writing plays and discovered new work. And I’ve fallen in love with all of those things. I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens exactly when it is supposed to happen. And that everything happens for a reason. I was supposed to start my journey at Illinois State. I’m forever grateful for my experience there. Because it led me to where I am now. And I love where I am at.

I don’t know why there has been this negative stigma on transferring. To quote John Mulaney, “I agreed to give them (college) $120,000 when I was 17 years old. With no attorney present. They pulled me out of high school. I was in sweatpants, all confused.” We choose which college we want to go to and what we want to do for the rest of our lives when we are 17. That’s crazy. We aren’t even legal adults yet. Our brains aren’t even fully formed. Of course some of us are going to change our minds--and that is okay. It is okay to discover that a certain school isn’t the right place for you. ISU was a great college, but it was not the right place for me. I love being a transfer kid. I get to tell people about my story and how incredible it is that I am where I am now.

All this to say, if you are thinking about transferring, know that it is normal and it is okay. And don’t you dare settle for anything less than what you want and deserve. Because once you find that perfect fit for you, it is amazing. I am so proud of where I am now. Transferring was so so scary, but that fear is nothing compared to the joy I have now. You all are so brave. As always, go do great things.