"Should I stay or should I go now?" This iconic Clash lyric is not only a banger and a half but also a question that I and thousands of other students have repeated in our heads at one time or another. The decision to transfer schools can be massive, emotional, and stressful AF. 

On the flip side, it can also feel like a huge weight being lifted off of your shoulders, and more common than you might think. But how do you know if that's the right decision for you? As a transfer kid myself, here is my guide to navigating that question:

How Long Have You Been Thinking About It?

The biggest thing I wish someone had told me going into university was how hard it would be mentally. I was prepared for professors that didn't care, class averages below fifty, and thousand person lectures, but I wasn't prepared for the emotional difficulty of navigating all of the other parts of university. And difficulties like these are universal, no matter who you talk to. 

What I'm trying to say with this is that even if you are at the perfect school for you, there will still be ups and downs and moments when you want to quit or go home or go anywhere but where you are. The difference between those ups and downs and needing to make a serious change is how long those downs last for. 

Feeling bummed after you get a couple bad marks isn't necessarily a sign that you should jump ship, but feeling consistently bummed with your college experience, regardless of what's going on, might be a sign it's time to put those floaties on and jump overboard. 

What Does Your Ideal College Experience Look Like?

Picture your dream school, where you will be the happiest you could possibly be even when finals season hits and stress is at an all-time high. What are the things that make it so perfect? Is it the people, the place, the program? Do they have absolutely bomb ice cream? Is their Spoon chapter the best in the country?

Whatever it is that's going to float your boat, no school is going to be absolutely perfect, but seeing how many of the boxes your current school ticks versus another potential school can make the decision a lot clearer. 

Make A Pros and Cons List

Writing in a journal photo by Cathryn Lavery (@cathrynlavery) on Unsplash

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Listening to what's going on with our feels is important but it can be hard to tell which ones we should listen to and which ones will change. It would be super handy if we all had someone to come and tell us what feelings and paths we were supposed to follow. Instead, the universe pulls the equivalent of someone teaching you how to ride a bike by pushing you down a hill and trusting that you'll figure it out by the time you get to the bottom. Thanks, universe. 

So, a way that worked for me to figure out which direction I was going to pedal (I'm really feelin' this bike analogy) was to write out the cold, hard facts about what the positives and negatives of me leaving were, and what the positives and negatives of me not leaving were. 

#SpoonTip: Some of the things on my 'to transfer or not to transfer' list ranged from going to a better school community to leaving the dogs I always visited with at a park near campus. Doggo visitation is always an important thing to consider, and it shows that the little things matter too. 

Say All of Those Thoughts Out Loud

Photographer Friends photo by Katie Treadway (@katietreadway) on Unsplash

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Once you've done all of the previous steps, one of the best things you can do is to talk to someone you trust about it. Chattin' it out is like chicken soup for the stressed out soul. Saying what has been racing around your brain can make things click in a way that doesn't happen when they're stuck in your brain. Air those thoughts out or they might start eating you up. 

#SpoonTip: make sure it's someone who won't pull an "I'm the captain now" on the conversation. At the end of the day, it's your life and your choice and your ship. (Enough analogies?)  

What's The Worst That Could Happen?

The reality that you have the power to change the course of your entire life with one decision is terrifying with a capital T. Scratch that, it's terrifying with a capital everything. It's also bigger-than-life-itself amazing. So if you're on the fence about wanting to transfer schools, take these steps, write those lists, start pedalling, and decide to live the life that you want, whether that means transferring or not. 

Balls in your court now, reader.