For most Lewis & Clark students, the beginning of Spring semester represents a return to routine, a chance to see familiar faces around campus once again. Yet for 15 transfer students, the start of Spring 2017 marked a beginning.
These students came into LC mid-year, making the transition to campus and academic life with very little orientation. In fact, because of the inclement weather that resulted in cancelled classes, there was almost no orientation at all.
“We didn’t really have much of an orientation at all, because it was mid-year, so we showed up like the Saturday before the semester started,” Peter Manicke ’18, who transferred from Haverford College, said. “And then we had all that weather, we had snow and ice and stuff, so all of the orientation events got cancelled, basically. So we kind of just jumped right in at the beginning of the semester.”
Beyond the initial stressors of figuring out meal plans and learning the layout of campus, for some students, acclimating to the academic rigor of LC has also been a challenge.
“This is the first time I’ve gone to a school that’s good, that I really had to test my abilities to study, to learn,” Evan Lange ’19, who transferred from College of DuPage, a community college in Glenn Ellyn, IL, said. “I feel like the atmosphere is overall more challenging and I’m really having to convince myself that I deserve to be here, that not everybody around me understands what’s going on more than I do, and that I actually have the ability to succeed as long as I can apply myself.”
Manicke agrees about the academic rigor of LC, but also appreciates the emphasis on learning over merit-based achievement.
“I feel more ease in my classes,” Manicke said. “I feel like there isn’t that kind of achievement-based vibe. People aren’t just going for the grade here, the way that they were inclined to do at Haverford… They’re here because they want to, they’re passionate about a subject, or they like Portland.”
Ava Burton ‘19, who transferred from CU Boulder, echoed her enjoyment of the learning atmosphere at LC.
“I appreciate that at Lewis & Clark there is an eagerness to learn and engage in discussion without a sense of competitiveness or pressure,” Burton said.
LC’s small size further solidified Burton’s decision to transfer.
“I was craving a college experience where I could develop genuine relationships with friends and professors,” Burton said. “At a big state school, you can go an entire day without seeing a familiar face, whereas here you’re constantly seeing people you know.”
When asked what the administration could do to make the transfer process smoother, Lange suggested adding a “point person” that transfers can turn to, to ask questions specific to their experience.
“There should be someone you should go to for questions,” Lange said. “No matter what it is. Somebody that’s kind of designated for that sort of purpose.”
A month in, the mid-year transfers are already starting to feel like Pios.
“Transitioning has been pretty smooth,” Burton said. “I feel like I am a part of the community and everyone has been very friendly.”
“There’s a certain level of comfort,” Manicke said. “I’m still getting used to Lewis & Clark obviously, but I’m feeling a lot more at home here.”