I’m a freshman at a small college and I’m involved in two groups — let’s pretend tennis and choir.
At a choir event, a guy I didn’t know started flirting with me and we ended up kissing but nothing else. Someone told a girl in the tennis club they’d seen me kissing her boyfriend. I told her I was sorry, and I didn’t know he was her boyfriend and I’d never have kissed him if I’d known. That is the truth.
It’s obvious I’m not welcome in the tennis club anymore. Tennis is very important to me and a big part of my life and it’s a very small college. I want to transfer to the large state school where I can keep playing and there are many different clubs and one social disaster won’t ruin my life, but my parents are vehemently against it.
My tuition will be less expensive at the state school and I have student loans. Do you think it’s a mistake to transfer?
— Not Welcome
Why the vehemence? Did your parents say?
I don’t think it’s a mistake to transfer, per se, nor would it be one to stay where you are and push back against the summary judgment of the “tennis” in-crowd. You’re just a freshman; there are still a lot of possible outcomes to this story. Being rash is generally a mistake, so I suggest making your decision with patience and care instead of RIGHT NOW based on the fresh agonies of RIGHT NOW.
Plus, learning to overcome ostracism could be the most valuable thing you take away from college. Admittedly, I could just have been unduly influenced by seeing “The Paper Chase” as a young child.
The details aren’t that important; it’s really a matter of your going methodically through your options, choosing what you think will be right for you not just in the moment, but also over time, and then making the best of your choice. Whichever one you make.
As long as you manage the money and logistics on your own, this is your decision, not your parents’.
One way to make such a difficult decision is to take incremental steps that don’t commit you to anything yet. In this case, you research the transfer process completely. Is there a deadline by which you have to apply to the state school? Does it have a strong academic program that matches your interests? Do transfer students feel welcome there?
Meanwhile, see whether the passage of time spent on this research brings any improvement to your social standing at your school. Has the scandal blown over? With the transfer option teed up, do you feel better positioned to stand up for yourself? “Am I really being shunned for someone else’s dishonesty?” Has your tormenter’s stranglehold on the tennis club been broken by other means? Being nasty to enough other people could get her driven out or drive out enough others for you to start your own club.
Not exploring your options fully might be the biggest potential mistake. Fortunately, it’s also the easiest one to avoid.
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