New school, new roommates, new normal
Upperclassman transfer living with other new students and visually impaired roommate.
By Callie Chase | Clarion Correspondent
Maddi Flannery, a junior transfer from Minnesota State University Moorhead, felt as though she might throw up from the anxiety. Her move-in slot at Bethel University was set from 11am to 1pm. Flannery and her mom pulled onto campus at 12:50pm, leaving 10 minutes to spare, attempting to avoid the chaotic Welcome Week festivities being advertised all over Instagram. Flannery contemplated backing out and returning to the comfortable campus she had already spent two years cultivating in.
“I remember walking down the stairs in Arden and thinking, ‘Why am I outside? Is this a cabin? I am confused,” Flannery said. The transfer student felt disoriented as she settled into her new home, yet she felt a sense of peace.
She spent the first two years of college at a state school which she referred to as “spiritually dark.” “Those two years that I was there was probably the hardest of my life so far,” Flannery said. “It was a really lonely time.” Halfway through her sophomore year at Moorhead State, Flannery broke down crying to her mom and realized how unhappy she truly was. She was ready for a fresh start.
“I don’t even want to tell people I’m from Moorhead State, I just want to put that in the past and keep it over there.” — Maddi Flannery, junior transfer
After filling out the housing application for random rooming at Bethel, she learned her roommates were transfer students as well. Deep down, she was relieved. Living with students with whom were just as confused as she was gave her a sense of community. After living at Bethel for a couple days, her Resident Assistant relayed the message of another roommate moving in with a disability.
This transfer student had never known anybody who was blind, let alone lived with them. She had no idea what to expect. But after talking to Hannah for the first time, all of her fears and doubts vanished.
Flannery struggled with the fact that she was a transfer, a junior, and came from a state school. She was embarrassed. “I don’t even want to tell people I’m from Moorhead State,” Flannery said. “I just want to put that in the past and keep it over there.” Her uncle put things into perspective by explaining to her how she has a rich experience that other Bethel students do not have. Being at Bethel has been a relief for Flannery, she feels like she can finally breathe.
Flannery reflected on her new life in Arden Hills, Minnesota by appreciating the connection between her faith and her school, contrary from the the way she felt at Moorhead State. Despite the refreshing environment she threw herself into, this transfer dealt with identity issues and longed to fit in. She felt insecure as she rushed to find friends.
Flannery took the job as a tour guide at the beginning of school practically out of pure pressure. She trained for two months and still felt inadequate to give tours. Comparing herself to more experienced tour guides, Flannery felt discouraged. It wasn’t until she met with Kae Bjorklund, her boss, that she had a breakthrough.
Bjorklund spoke life into Flannery by explaining how Bethel Admissions needed tour guides and how her story as a transfer student has power. Despite Flannery’s unwillingness to tell people she had transferred schools, she learned that being a transfer is not a weakness, it is a refreshing perspective. She was encouraged to tell her story.
“God really spoke to me in that time,” Flannery said about the first portion of the school year. “I had my devotional, and literally for two weeks it was speaking exactly to me.” She knew God had brought her here, and she trusted friends would come.
Map: Home, Moorhead State, Bethel University.
Timeline: Graduate high school, attend Moorhead State, transfer to Bethel.
Bar Graph: Number of Male/Female student transfers in past two years.