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Bringing It Home – The Saint Rose Blog

From Timberwolf to Golden Knight: My Saint Rose Transfer Story

The author, Savannah Torebka ’24.

The path to college looks different for everyone. There are always new challenges, high and low points, and experiences in abundance. My own path that led me to Saint Rose was not exactly the one I was expecting, but that’s part of what makes it beautiful.

I began my college journey straight out of high school, attending SUNY Adirondack as a Liberal Arts major. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my future and decided that attending community college would be the best way to figure that out. In my two years at Adirondack, I changed my major a total of four times. I went from Liberal Arts to Psychology, to English, and back to Liberal Arts by the time I graduated. I also managed to find time in those two years to drop out from stress for a semester, and then come back to complete my degree program.

After getting my associate’s degree, I decided I was officially finished with my education and wanted to enter the working world as soon as possible. I worked several entry-level jobs in the service industry while barely earning enough money to pay my rent for the house I moved into with my best friend. I was overworked, broke, and extremely depressed. I struggled to get by like this for about two years, before finally realizing I had enough of these customer service jobs and wanted to aim higher. I recognized that I wasn’t living up to my potential, and decided it was time to go back to school.

That’s when I discovered Saint Rose.

During my time away from school, my love for writing really blossomed. Once I decided I was ready to go back to school, I knew exactly what I wanted my major to be: journalism. I applied to a few colleges, and although I was accepted by all of them, Saint Rose was my first choice. They offered a great communications program, and they were close enough to home that I could maintain much of my lifestyle. Within a few months, I was living on campus in a transfer student house with 20 other students, going to classes every day to pursue my career dreams.

At first, the idea of attending Saint Rose was absolutely daunting. During my first semester, I was mostly concerned about how I would make friends as a transfer student. I think this fear is common among new college students of any age, but I’m happy to report that this fear was quickly conquered for me. Within my first 24 hours on campus, I was immediately swept up by a group of wonderful people in the music program that invited me to come and sing with them. That group eventually became my core group of friends here, and my bandmates as well. I found that the process of making friends came naturally by going to campus events, joining clubs like the school newspaper, The Chronicle, and auditioning for campus concerts, I was able to meet countless people with similar interests to me.

I wanted to make sure that my college experience at Saint Rose was different from my experience at SUNY Adirondack, where I felt extremely uncertain and unmotivated. To make sure that I was always accomplishing a goal for myself, I talked with my professors often. I wanted to really pick their brains about what my degree could do for my future, and find what opportunities they could offer me in journalism. I also was very open with them if I felt I did not fully understand a concept, or if I was feeling bogged down by the stress of my new academic responsibilities.

This open communication with my professors and advisors was a major factor in my resulting successes. It opened the door for me that led me to my current internship with the College’s marketing department, being a paid editor for our school paper, earning my spot on the Dean’s List each semester, and being accepted into two separate academic honor societies. This closeness with my professors also has allowed me to explore potential options post-graduation that I otherwise would have never entertained, like attending graduate school for my master’s degree in journalism.

The biggest lesson that I have learned from transferring to Saint Rose after my somewhat rocky start at Adirondack is this: Everything happens for a reason. My journey may not have been the “perfect college experience,” but that concept simply doesn’t exist. My confidence in myself and my abilities has skyrocketed since coming here, and I am more eager for my future than ever before.

If I could send a message to all transfer students, or to anyone thinking of coming back to school after taking a break, it would be to believe in yourself. Find people around you who support you when times are tough, and know that you are capable of so much more than you ever thought possible.

You never know how your life can change in just a year. Mine changed entirely for the better since coming to Saint Rose. Your path will undoubtedly look different than mine, and that is what makes each of our journeys so special. There is no “right way” to go through college as long as you stay true to yourself. Be patient and kind to yourself, and never hesitate to talk to others about what you need to succeed.

The future is bright, so go after it, Golden Knights!

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