Spring Transfer Students Provide New Faces On Campus
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2008
Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 17:05
In a cozy back room of Sessions Annex, many of the 32 transfer students new to Smith this semester gather, swapping tales of their first few weeks acclimating to the "Smith bubble." During the first meeting of the Transfer Student Organization, new members shared confusion as to why all of their seemingly normal friends possessed pictures of themselves wrapped in saran wrap and donning their brightest lingerie outside of John M. Green Hall or why the ostensibly innocent idea of house teas seems inextricably bonded to sex toy workshops.New transfer students on campus this semester range from architecture majors to avid gardeners, local students familiar with the area to international students for whom this will be their first American educational experience. To help with the acclimation process, transfer students participated in a weekend-long orientation at the end of J-term and are welcomed into the SGA-funded student organization just for transfer students.
"I did everything in Washington that I wanted to do in two years," Jill Flashner '09 said of her decision to transfer from George Washington University to Smith. Flashner, originally from Greenwich, Conn., plans to major in government and has already interned for both her senator and congressman and has volunteered in the White House. Now at Smith, her interests, though still including government, have branched into diving classes and the Republican Club.
"I wanted more of a campus-oriented school. I thought that my quality of life would be better.I didn't know any of my neighbors [at GWU] and I didn't meet people in my hall. I was hoping here that I would have that opportunity," she stated. This semester, she is a member of the Gardiner House community.
Far from the Quad, Radhika Garland '10 has "just been getting to know the really awesome girls on [her] floor" in Albright House. "At Smith you become part of the community really quickly. There's a certain kind of intimate feeling you have just with anyone because you know that you have all of these common interests," she said. Describing her new environment as "very engaging," Garland transferred from the 1,400-student Lawrence University.
Though on campus this spring, Garland will be actively pursuing her double major in Russian and French in St. Petersburg next fall. While taking her far, these international interests initially brought her to Smith: "Since I was a Russian and French major.the best place to pursue these interests would be at Smith because it has all the programs I want and offers the best environment for studying," she said.
This semester, she hopes to get involved in the community garden program on campus. "[Gardening] is a really calming activity, and I like to get my hands dirty," she explained.
For Katherine Aye '10 of Longmeadow, Mass., the decision to transfer was linked to her major. While at UMass, where she had originally decided to go "because it was cheap and because [she] didn't really know what [she] wanted to do yet," she became interested in economics and declared her major. "As I got deeper into the major, the classes were still huge," she said. "After a while it started getting old really quickly."
Aye recalls one intro-level class, where she was "literally a number," transmitting her answers and attendance record through a radio on her desk. "I recommend anybody at a Five College liberal arts school to take a class at UMass because you'll come back and appreciate the small classes so much more," she advised.
A basketball player and an art history minor, Aye feels that she has the best of both worlds in coming from UMass. "I love the social aspect that comes with the big college mentality," she said, explaining that she still visits UMass frequently.
While Aye loves the transition to Smith food, Kelsi Hoke '11 felt that "the housing and dining was rather misrepresented in the brochures." A transfer student from Providence College, Hoke said, "They wrote something like, 'You have your own individual town house with a personal chef,' and that's not true! I'm a little disappointed that I can't go down to the kitchen and sit there while my chef makes me food.but it works out I guess."
"I don't know any other first years. I feel like I don't know the protocol for a lot of what happens," she stated. An architecture major whose family has also recently moved to Northampton, Hoke said, "I really like going to antique stores and the downtown here is fun to walk around."
Heather Retos '11, though originally enticed to SUNY Albany for its impressive resources and low costs, "got frustrated with the academics there.and expected that the social aspects would weigh out academic downfalls." Retos, a self-described "polymath" and a prospective government major, remembered, "I don't think I sat next to the same person in a lecture class for the entire semester, and I sat in the same seat.Some people like that distance, but I like to get really close and involved in my studies."
Now living in Duckett, Retos plans to involve herself in Student Government and the rugby team.
Katherine Posey '09J boasts an illustrious educational history, moving from a dance conservatory to a contract with Ballet Austin, to a community college and eventually the University of Southern Indiana, from whence she comes this semester.
"I really wanted to be a studies of women and gender major.so Smith just seemed right," she said. Now well into her third week, Posey has already made plans to join the Dance Club, Feminists of Smith Unite, the Peer Sex Educators and, of course, the Transfer Club.
Natasha Haney '09J, a transfer from both UC Boulder and University of Sydney in Australia, is currently taking three courses related to her major, government, this semester. While stressful, she said, "It's a great time to be taking all of these classes, what with the election and everything."