The art of the in-between
The Scope

To begin is always a challenge. Between the inertia of the familiar and the terror of the unknown, it’s a bit of a miracle we begin anything at all. Applying to college is a fantastically absurd pursuit, in which many of us choose to leave behind everything we’ve known in order to dive headfirst into new social orders, expansive academia, and possible futures—all at the tender age of not-quite-an-adult.

To begin again, therefore, is a not a feat to be taken lightly.

There are many synonyms for “transfer”: shift, relocate, remove, transplant. All suggest a certain rupture, a deliberate choice to change. If I’ve learned anything from working with Sanjay Paul, Brian O’Sullivan, and Tiernaur Anderson, it’s that the decision to transfer isn’t a passive one. It stems more from a need than a desire, a deep impetus rather than a passing flirtation with the new.

But this choice is also one full of uncertainty and discomfort—developing new roots is full of growing pains and, sometimes, regret. As Brian puts it, “If anyone tells you that transferring is easy, especially to Columbia, they are not giving you the full picture.” Still, the careful hope of Sanjay, Brian, and Tiernaur shows me that their decisions may still prove worthwhile. These students started Columbia neither here nor there, but rather somewhere in the middle of where they were and where they hoped to be. They have begun to find community among other transfer students, professors, and—when we four-year students aren’t too caught up in our routines—the rest of Columbia.

So what does life for a transfer student look like, life in the in-between? Like a new beginning.


Hannah Barbosa Cesnik

Editorial page editor