Preparing for your first year of college at a university isn’t easy, but I made the best decision of my life when I decided to do it twice. There aren’t many survival guides out there for transfer students and it’s probably because we’re just too busy making up for our “lost time” to put one together. Although you feel like your life is running just a little faster than you, the great thing about being a transfer student is that you have a head start. Your previous experience has probably equipped you well enough to take on your first semester with greater confidence. Just one year ago, I thought I had everything figured out! Nonetheless, even that changed for the better during my first semester on the Hilltop. I knew the opportunities at SMU were abundant, but it wasn’t until I transferred that I realized just how great of an impact they would have on me.

I’ll never forget my very first class on my very first day at SMU. I was welcomed by the one and only Liljana Elverskog for my Intermediate Arabic class, and what I thought was a class that would satisfy a University Curriculum requirement had become the beginning of an Arabic minor. As a transfer student, I was eager to explore my interests but I thought I would be too busy playing catch-up to minor in anything at all! SMU has undoubtedly exceeded my expectations in their encouragement for academic and self-growth with their availability of various majors and minors. With the help of my academic advisor and attentive professors, I have also added a second minor in Statistical Science that will better prepare me for graduate school!

It doesn’t end there. Student organizations have been the best way for me to simultaneously foster my academic and personal growth and establish my closest ties to other students. Finding a community of students on campus that interact through social, educational, and religious means has always been important to me, and my involvement with the Muslim Student Association has especially helped in shaping my student experience. Fortunately for all students on campus, there is a student organization for just about everything and you’re able to explore them all during Night at the Club before classes begin.

Although in-person classes have come to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have come to understand from this and being a transfer student that my time as a Mustang is not only defined by the time I’ve spent on campus. The education, relationships, and experiences on the Hilltop are everlasting, and I am so eager to continue to pursue whatever SMU throws my way (via Zoom or not). I cannot wait to see you all on campus!

P.S. If you were looking for a sign to transfer, this is it.

Pony Up!

Leena Kamal

SMU Class of 2021