Club life empowers transfer students
At first glance, the Newman Vertical Campus can emanate a feeling of monolithic dread that crashes over all who approach it. The building’s curvature warns its inhabitants of the figurative and literal uphill climb they must endure in order to succeed at Baruch College. For the 6,854 students who have transferred to Baruch since 2015, the trek seems even steeper. They have discarded the notion of a “traditional” college experience long before stepping into the campus.
Transfer Seminar is not mandatory for transfer students, but it offers a number of resources that ease the path for newcomers, much like its Freshman Seminar counterpart. According to the Transfer Seminar Instructor’s Manual, sessions cover academic research and success strategies, career planning led by a STARR Career Development Center staff member, communication skills, health and wellness activities and more. The SCDC also coordinates with the Transfer Student Organization to host special resume and cover letter workshops, co-sponsor a Career Week Panel in the spring.
Common stories shared in Transfer Seminar sessions include discussions of former schools, persevering through the red tape of the CUNY system and getting accustomed to the labyrinth of hallways at Baruch.
After having spent days in the Admissions Office, Office of the Registrar and Financial Aid Office and having dealt with the paperwork, the first day of classes is when transfer students get a glimpse into the next stage of their higher education.
A closer look at Baruch’s populous makes it seem like the General Assembly of the United Nations. With over 100 languages spoken, 160 countries represented and just as many undergraduate clubs, the diverse student population attracts prospective students and makes the likelihood of finding a familiar cultural group or club relatively high.
The Office of Student Life oversees the 160 student-run undergraduate clubs and organizations. From a cappella to business to cultural clubs, students should take advantage of the abundant opportunities offered at Baruch. Nearly every club offers free food in general interest meetings—go for the food, stay for the camaraderie.
Some transfer students may feel compelled to take advantage of their college experience and join in on club life. Pablo Martinez, a junior majoring in Computer Science, talked of his experiences and involvement within club life. “I love hanging out with my friends after classes at events. In the Fall semester, when I transferred over, it was difficult to make friends because the whole time, I focused so much on just making the grades.”
Martinez described how his grades began to fall because he lost interest in school. “I didn’t have a super high GPA last quarter because I didn’t get a feel for the school yet. But now that I am involved and enjoying my time here more, I feel more encouraged to do the work."
Even though Baruch’s cutthroat classroom environment made the workload seem unbearable, he found a happy balance in his life through club participation. “I really enjoy spending extra time at school, which I didn’t think was possible as I was growing up. I hated school growing up.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Natalie Ryenonkova regrets not participating in more extracurricular activities when she had the chance. “I wish I had done a lot last year [as a junior], but now I'm a senior and it's hard,” said the corporate communications major.
“I don't know where to start but I take daytime classes, so I see a bunch of the same faces and they all have club shirts.” Even though she wanted to attend events and get more involved, her limited time at Baruch prevented her from fully embracing all Baruch has to offer.
This academic year, approximately 63 percent of enrolled Baruch degree-seeking undergraduates began their career here as transfer students, according to the Public Relations department. This should only further encourage all students, especially transfer students, to reach out to the OSL, find a club, attend general interest meetings and explore the campus and find interesting events.
It might take a semester to get acclimated to the people and atmosphere, but the relationships built will make the time spent at Baruch almost worth the cost of admission.