9 Signs You're A Transfer Student

By Matthew Hutchings on June 16, 2015

Some transfer students are happy. These resilient souls are some of the most well-balanced, kind, caring, compassionate, bright, talented people you will ever meet, and they have the whole world in front of them.

Then there are the rest of us. In the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy’s famous Blue Collar Comedy Tour, here are some signs that “you might just be a transfer student if…”


1) You know what an empty bank account looks like and how poorly that bodes for your immediate future.

If you’re a transfer student, you’ve probably seen the red before. Nobody goes to community college by choice- it’s just too cheap to avoid for most people who fall somewhere around the lower-middle end of the income spectrum. Chances are you’ve been taking care of your own finances for a good minute, and chances are you’ve run into that scummy situation where the bank starts charging you money because you’re such a dusty-ass, broke-ass fool you can’t even maintain the minimum required balance in your account.

Rent in Santa Cruz is in the top five highest in the nation, on par with New York City, San Jose and San Francisco. Paying ten thousand dollars a year just to have a place to lay your head is the rule, not the exception. All your life you wondered why your favorite rappers talked about cockroaches so damn much, and then you see the suckers in person and you understand. The reaction is visceral.


2) You’ve done something to pay for this quarter that would make your mother cry if she knew.

If you’re a female, you might have tested the waters on Seeking Arrangements, to see what the market had to offer in the way of older gentlemen with large bank accounts. It’s not an arrangement primed to build loads of self-esteem, but if you are even mildly attractive you will be able to find something.

If you’re a dude on the other hand, you’re out of luck, because nobody wants to pay to see your gross ass naked, so you will probably have to test the waters in different markets. Just remember that going to jail is not conducive to finishing your major plan on time, and when you get out you will probably have had your financial aid revoked anyway. So don’t get caught, sport.

If you don’t mind finding multiple legitimate jobs, you could theoretically pay your way through UC Santa Cruz on minimum wage, provided your tuition is completely covered by financial aid, and you have room in your weekly schedule for 30 hours of school, 40 hours of work, 5 hours of studying and… wait, how many hours are in a week again? What day is it? Have I been sleeping? Did I dream? Oh god…


3) You look like you just got off a three-day crack binge.

You look like this because you don’t sleep much anymore, at least, not when your head hits the pillow. Sleeping in class is a whole different ball game, one you mastered back in high school. As the lectures become increasingly irrelevant to the dark things mutating inside your head, you will find yourself tuning out with greater and greater regularity until the only thing you come to class for is to sign the roll sheet and get the handouts that aren’t on ecommons.

The rings under your eyes are so deep you regularly have to fend off mating attempts from horny raccoons who mistake you for a member of their own species. Down on the main drag homeless people will ask what the latest gossip from the shelter is, and you can only shrug. Watching Fight Club is like watching a documentary only instead of stealing human fat to make into bombs you’re… never mind.


4) The STARS room is your place of refuge-

when you find out your friends with benefits has a sugar daddy, your housemate is living on credit, and you are generally short on motivation to continue living, this is where you go. They have coffee, which you now drink whether you like it or not. They also have several computers and a printer, which when it is not malfunctioning, can be used to do your homework at the last possible minute like you always do. You can also print out party invites, readings, or other things that they say you can’t, but you have to employ one of two techniques.

The first technique is to either wait until the student employee in charge leaves the room to chat, or you have to stand between them and the printer to obscure the fact that you are wasting their ink. The other technique is to simply print it and if they object, stare directly into their eyes and form a mental link, revealing to them exactly how scarred and ugly your soul has become from months of sleep deprivation, depression and recreational drug use.


5) You are a high-functioning addict.

Coffee is just the tip of the iceberg. If you haven’t already, you will be finding yourself sliding down an ever-increasing regimen of narcotics to keep you functional. As you progress the drugs will get more powerful and more dangerous. Once you reach a certain velocity, it is almost inevitable that cocaine will sidle in there at some point, and you should make damn sure that you keep it at arms length and have strict rules about when you will and will not partake. Don’t end up one of those people who has to go to rehab. Chances are your parents are already having second thoughts about you, if they’re even still concerned what is happening to you in that little hippie surf town up north. No need to add fuel to the fire.


6) If you’re a liberal arts student, you’ve skated through on general knowledge with minimal effort.

Lets be brutally honest. Liberal arts education, while indispensable, is a joke. Currently college is set up remarkably similar to public education, which is an assembly line. This is perfect for STEM, but it ends up badly mangling most classes on politics and history. Also, while STEM departments seem convinced that the best way to produce good STEM students is to drop coursework on them until they keel over and die an agonizing, bloody death, liberal arts departments are often the opposite.

The workload is incredibly light for even the most unmotivated student, which you will most certainly be by the time this whole institution is through with you. The one thing you will learn while navigating this bureaucratic farce we call higher education is that the best strategy is to accomplish as much as possible with as little work as possible. Those Wikipedia binges that lasted for hours now have a purpose. You have memorized enough general trivia and basic logic that you can fudge your history/anthro/politics papers and still get a B or a C every time. Just read through the sources and pick out the required number of loosely-related quotes, write an outline in five minutes, and the bang out eight to ten pages of utter nonsense that still somehow merits a passing grade. Rinse. Repeat.


7) You’ve had senioritis since you were a junior.

Your fingers drum. Your foot taps. Your eyes wander. Sometimes they close without you even realizing it. You are so absolutely f-ing done with desks and classes and professors and exams and all the rest, that your discomfort is barely concealed from minute to minute. This has been building for a long time. It started with your frustration at community college for being a cheap knock-off that you had to endure before getting to your half-dose of the real deal college experience.

Now that you’re here, and you realize it is just community college all over again for more money, your wish to be rid of it all is almost constantly simmering down in the deep parts of your diaphragm, regardless of what emotion you are currently experiencing. The whole thing is so clearly broken and dysfunctional that it barely merits the phrase “education”. “Highway robbery” would be more apt. When someone asks you what you are going to do with your major you have stopped giving serious answers. The fellow students that you so willingly embraced during the scrum of meeting people first quarter have become more and more annoying by the day. The love and camaraderie you felt has been replaced by a deep and abiding desire for them to shut their mouths. With a lurch of revulsion, you realize you are becoming an alcoholic curmudgeon just like your father.


8) Your procrastination has achieved epic proportions.

You do assignments AFTER they are due and beg for accommodations, which you are usually given because the professors are used to you and your peers being lazy, worthless do-nothings, yet at the same time they are just glad someone in the class is turning some work in. You now leave your apartment for class 15 to 20 minutes late every day without fail, and you can’t even give a reason why, it just happens. It doesn’t help that only the TA’s with a stick up their ass will glare at you for being late. You’re the sucker who is paying for this. Nobody cares if you show up or not, as long as direct deposit is still hooked up to your bank account and that bank account still has money in it. You don’t even need to lie and say you got stuck in traffic.


9) You find yourself reflecting on the meaning of the universe a lot.

Why am I here? Why was I born staring out of this body, and not another? Does all this complexity really necessitate a sentient designer who cares about us, or are we just pinballs in a cold, careless game of chance? Death occupies about a quarter to a third of your thoughts, most especially when you smoke a huge rip and get in the shower in the morning. You feel the water flow over your fragile, fleshy envelope, and feel the blood pump hard in your hands because all those Turkish Royals are already ruining the circulation in your extremities and you think- “Christ alive. I’m going to wither away painfully to nothing and die someday. Will any of this have mattered? Will any of it be remembered?”

You can ask this question by itself, or you can phrase it as a direct query to God, but having done both I can report that the answer is the same: a long silence. Often these thoughts will be accompanied by mild anxiety attacks lasting for two or three hours. At this point, they’re the only time you really feel alive, because every other waking moment feels like a dream.



I'm a transfer student, an aspiring writer, and a banana slug. I like to slide around among the leaf litter because it keeps me cool and moist. My favorite sport is global politics, and I always stay up on how my teams are doing. If I'm not at the burrito place or walking in the woods you can catch me staring at news feeds and hitting F5 like it was the treat dispenser button.

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