Words of Wisdom: Advice from a Transfer Student

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Kari Barrows

By Kari Barrows ‘17

January 2015: I am ready to be a Bulldog but I’m also nervous. New school, new classes, new friends, new LIFE. I’ve just finished my College Transfer degree from McDowell Technical Community College and I know UNC Asheville is the right place for me. I know mass communication will be the right degree for me, but change is always a little scary, and transferring into a university mid-school year is especially nerve-wracking. Will I feel behind? Will I be able to keep up? Did I miss the chance to join any of the clubs and organizations I’ve read about? And, even though I feel too old to be worrying about this, will I make any friends?

December 2016: I am graduating with distinction in mass communication soon. I’ve just completed undergraduate research and I’m writing this from the desk of my internship with the university’s Communications and Marketing Department. I also work with another department on campus called Transition and Parent Programs. I live in a house with friends who I used to live with in West Ridge residence hall. Everything I once worried about seems so far away.

Everyone has a different journey in college and luckily UNC Asheville has provided many outlets for me to explore. Take a look at my journey and maybe you’ll find something to jump right into as well:

Clubs and Organizations

I try my hand as a DJ for the Blue Echo. Blue Echo - Radio was always something that had interested me but I didn’t feel like I had it in me to be an actual DJ. When the first friends I made at UNC Asheville happened to be executives of Blue Echo, UNC Asheville’s student-run online radio, I figured I should give it a try.  I started helping with events such as Echo Fest, an all-day music festival at the university that gathered campus and local bands. Later, my friend Jon and I got up the courage to plan out our own radio show, formerly known as “All Bands Considered.” Check out the station’s link below:


If radio isn’t quite your fit, check out the list of other clubs and organizations UNC Asheville has to offer:


Underdog Productions

In my first semester, I quickly found I was never bored. I never had the chance! There were free movie screenings, open mic nights, and other events like Lawn Party that had free food and games on the quad at the end of the semester. Check out everything Underdog Productions plans and hosts:  


Transition and Parent Programs

I thought life might be difficult as a transfer student. Thankfully, I was wrong. Transition and Parent Programs provides support and hosts events for any non-traditional students. Whether it’s baseball games or information sessions on campus Transition and Parent Programs gives away great UNC Asheville swag!resources, I was able to meet transfer students just like myself. By the end of my first semester, I had even secured a job as a Student Programs Assistant with the department for the next school year. Check out what else this department has to offer:


Career Center

Applying for the job with Transition and Parent Programs required a cover letter, something I had never done before. Luckily, the Career Center on campus has several resources, online and in-person for writing cover letters, resumes, and preparing for interviews. Check out their website:


Ramsey Library Resources

I’ve always loved being surrounded by books, so I knew many of my hours would be spent in UNC Asheville’s campus library. However, I soon found out Ramsey Library offers so much more than just books.

Media and Design Lab - I can’t even count how many hours I’ve spent in the Media and Design lab downstairs. I did everything from editing video footage with programs I didn’t have on my own computer to getting tips and advice from some of the assistants there.

Study Rooms - Many late-night study sessions were spent in one of the study rooms that you can reserve with other students, a space where we could quiz each other and talk about subjects.

Research support - When I was feeling lost with my final research paper, I set up a research consultation meeting. I was able to figure out how to look at my project from different angles I hadn’t considered before.

Check out what else Ramsey Library has to offer:



I can personally say there is a reason UNC Asheville was ranked #1 for “Making an Impact” in Princeton’s 2016 review, because it’s certainly made an impact on my life. I still have lots of questions about life and the future, maybe even more so now than ever. But I feel more than prepared to take on these questions.