BY DANNY MURRAY, CONTRIBUTING WRITER
While attending my former school, the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, I knew my way around the large public campus and enjoyed the anonymity offered by a student body of 15,000. I also enjoyed the ever-present party scene, and I will never forget the all-night celebration upon winning the Division National Hockey Championship in 2016.
Life as a transfer student is tough stuff, though. The first week is always the hardest. Finding out which credits transferred and which did not can be a bit distressing. I was running around trying to find my classes and meeting new people while at the same time trying to decide which classes to take and which ones to cancel. Nothing looked familiar. It was like freshman year all over again!
One thing I remember from freshman year is that many students solidified their friend groups in the first few weeks of the semester. While Augsburg is clearly the most inclusive environment I have ever seen, approaching new people and making new friends can still be unnerving. Thankfully, Augsburg goes above and beyond to ensure new students feel welcome and supported every step of the way. Group activities are numerous and free and have been a great opportunity to meet new people.
I was fortunate to have grown up in the suburb of St. Louis Park, and this eased the logistical transition from UND to the very urban setting of Augsburg, smack in the middle of Minneapolis, as I was already familiar with the Twin Cities.
However, whether you look at it politically, demographically or geographically, the Augsburg/Minneapolis setting is very different from UND/Grand Forks. I am no longer surrounded with like-minded outdoorsman, hockey enthusiasts and partygoers. Upon entering Augsburg, I decided early on to overcome my natural tendency to dwell on the negatives and place my focus instead on the positives of my new school and environment. In place of exploring the great outdoors, I have explored the U of M campus and Dinkytown. Instead of complaining about not having intramural hockey, I have found a group offering free ice time weekly! Instead of lamenting the lack of individuals with similar worldviews, I chose to embrace the abundant diversity that exceeds anything I experienced in North Dakota.
The school’s small size is not all bad either. It has allowed me to be held at a greater level of accountability, and it creates a more personal dynamic between students and professors. It has also been nice getting to class and figuring out the campus quicker. With the intimate classroom settings and professors seemingly compassionate attitudes, I have found my academic experience to be substantially enhanced.
So far, my experience as a transfer student has been quite an adventure. It has been wonderful having so many resources and amenities so close to campus. The proximity of the U of M campus and Minneapolis as a whole offers an abundance of options to pass time. Along with the resources around campus, I am also just a few miles away from where I grew up, and this makes going home much easier and has allowed me to stay close with my family. Coming to Augsburg has been a transformative experience for me, teaching me to become more open to other cultures and to embrace the diversity Augsburg has to offer. I look forward to the additional lessons Augsburg will teach me and the many friendships that are sure to come in the future.
This article first appeared in the Friday, November 3, 2017, Edition of The Echo.