The feelings of transferring universities

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Before the transfer

One year ago, I was a proud and “pretentious” first-year software engineering (the real engineering) student at Taylor’s University.

To be honest, I loved Taylor’s. We had a lake, some ducks, and a bunch of cute doggos running around the car parks. It was a great environment to study overall and I loved the people who I was studying with.

However, a day spent at Taylor’s was another day I’m not pushing myself.

Being at Taylor’s was… comfortable. Too comfortable. It was near my home, in a city I’ve grown up in for 19 years, and there were already people I knew that were studying at Taylor’s.

The usual routine would involve me getting to the university by 6.30 am. (because I like good carpark spots), reading through articles on Medium, browsing through Reddit till my class started, eating lunch with the same circle of friends, and then eventually go home.

It probably wasn’t even Taylor’s fault, it was all me.

I was so into my comfort zone that I didn’t have to do anything, and because of that, I did nothing.

My initial thought was to find developer work somewhere. But my university schedule was too tight.

We had classes.

Every. Single. Day.

What makes matters worse was classes were fixed for every student. And since attendance was compulsory, there was really nothing I could do but to go with it.

Frustrated with this, I decided to apply for a transfer.

Choosing the university to transfer to

I was never meant to transfer this early. My plan was to stay in Taylor’s for 2 years before transferring out to an Australian university.

But that plan was cut short because of I needed to do something. I wanted to do something.

I applied to Australian universities, mainly the Group of  8 (Go8) universities and the Australian Technology Network (ATN) universities. I was leaned more towards the Go8 because of their “prestigious” name because we Asians seem to always be biased towards big names.

One of the Go8 universities even offered me an Advanced course (obviously with higher fees) which I was tempted to accept. Not only was it offered by one of best universities in Australia, but my brother was an alumnus of that university, adding to my bias towards it.

It was tempting, the “Advanced” course would obviously boost my non-existing ego. But considering the costs and the units I was about to study, I eventually picked Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

While most of my course mates choose Royal Melbourne Institution of Technology (RMIT), I choose QUT because they offered a small merit scholarship and was much cheaper than the other options, and the course offered to me was more in line with what I was interested in.

The course was also more computer science focused, which means I could take units related to my field of study instead of taking random engineering or math units that were present in other universities’ courses.

And so,

I (“I”, meaning my parents) threw money at QUT, told my friends I’m leaving, and flew to Australia.

Getting used to the new environment

I have never been to Australia (at this point), heck, I’ve never even been alone before (at this point).  Everything was so new to me that I couldn’t help but feel scared. Every second I’m constantly shouting, “What the hell am I doing here?”.

Usually, with my “pretentious” trait obtained from Taylor’s, I would go out gun blazing trying to make friends, tell people how important my visual novel project is, attempt to impress people with my shitty coding skills.

But I became reserved.

I would sit at my new home, thinking how great it’ll be back in Malaysia and be with my family and friends again. I was seriously homesick.

I felt as if I had lost something. Friends, family, and most importantly, comfort.

But being uncomfortable is good right?

The thing about having no comfort is that you feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. And for the first few weeks I was in the land down under, I did nothing.

It eventually got better when I started making friends from classes. Continuing with joining clubs, and then with joining random university events.

It didn’t feel like home, but it was something, and that something pushed me forward to do things I’ve probably wouldn’t have done if I was still in my comfort zone.

Aftermath

I’m still somewhat uncomfortable, but that’s good. Because it forces me to try out different things to make it comfortable again.

During my time with QUT, I was able to win my first hackathon, get my first internship, receive a bunch of rejected job applications, confess my feelings and get rejected for the first time (Yea, what a loser), earn money for the first time, pay some of my tuition fees, volunteer to teach kids, make my first visual novel, read the bible for the first time, and much more.

Whether they were good or bad, I will never regret the actions I’ve made. Because even though I’m proud of the things I’ve achieved listed above, the process towards those achievements is what shaped me into what I am today.

I’ll never be perfect and I’ll probably never be, but I’ve definitely improved a lot more as a person through this transfer than if I had stayed back.

I love QUT now, and I’m glad I transferred here.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

About the author

Jia Sheng Chong

I just write stuff.

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