Transitioning to a 4-year University

Change is everywhere. As humans, we must respond to this change with flexibility and adaptability, or we risk falling behind. This reality became more apparent to me than ever, when I recently made the transition from Missouri State University-West Plains, a 2-year college, to its larger, 4-year counterpart, Missouri State University. Five weeks in, and I have begun to identify several unique challenges in making this move. First and foremost, the difference in class size creates a different academic dynamic. While at MSU-West Plains, I usually had classes of 30 or 40; Now, often walking into classes of 150 students, the learning environment is less personal, asking questions is less feasible, and one-on-one opportunities with instructors are less frequent. The second major challenge lies in my connection with others. When at a smaller campus, you get used to seeing the same people; at a larger campus, you may see someone one day, and never see them again. This makes it hard to see the value in investing time connecting with others.

There problems I have outlined above are not without remedies. One of the best ways to smooth the transition from a 2-year to 4-year school is to get involved in organizations or clubs, which is exactly how I got the opportunity to write this post. I joined Phi Beta Lambda after being invited by one of my instructors, and the organization has allowed me to grow as a person. Whether you are a business major or not, finding organizations like Phi Beta Lambda will allow you to stay connected with a group of people that can help you find opportunities to improve. Change is hard. Humans don’t like to step into unfamiliar surroundings. Just know, though, that whenever you are facing change, if you approach it with diligence and adaptability, you can turn change into a positive force. Making the change from a 2-year to 4-year college has been a challenge, but one that I know will be worth it in the end.

Derek McGinnis, PBL VP of Communications (Missouri State University)