Goshen College students are back.  We’ve been back for a while.  It has been over a month of textbooks, tests and trying to trudge through drifts of snow.

But someone else isn’t back.  Someone else is learning all sorts of the things for the first time.  They’re learning about the intricacies of convo, the munch money system and that when someone says Waffle House, they are not referring to a breakfast eatery or any sort of house, but a floor on Coffman.

These someones are transfers.

They are among us.  Their faces are familiar, they have the look of a seasoned college student, however slightly masked by a measure of uncertainty.  They may be confused for freshmen, except for the fact that they keep on showing up in your upper-level Religion and Sexuality class.  They look like normal people: black hair, red hair, brown hair and blonde hair.  They might even seem like good, decent people.

“But wait!” you might say. Weren’t you a transfer Daniel? Ah! You caught me… and as a former transfer, I am here to hold your hand through the transfer acceptance process.

Transfer acceptance process? Is that something that admissions does?  Yes. And it’s something that we can do too.  I sense your skepticism – clingy, awkward and with a poor concept of basic hygiene, they’re like the worst breed of fall first-years.  But that’s just a few of them!  Most know what Irish Spring means and are only awkward the first few times (others, like myself, are just 5-gallon drums full of awkward).

They have a difficult road ahead, trying to make friends in an established world.  They might even travel in packs, making it difficult to break in and start a conversation. My advice is to pick the small, weak ones that hang around the edge of the herd.

So the next time you see a transfer, give ’em a smile, wink or maybe even a cookie.  They may look awkward and uncomfortable (or ask for a glass of milk), but don’t worry, that will fade.  Maybe even invite them to do something cool with your friends.  They’ll like it, because, when you break it down, transfers are people too.