Being the new kid is not always easy. Whether you were the kind of kid that moved around a lot growing up, or you didn’t experience that “new kid” feeling until college, we have all experienced the uneasy feeling of being new at some point in our lives. While there are quite a few students who attend one university for their entire degree, there are a number of others who choose to transfer to a different school at some point in their college experience. One student who transferred to ISU’s Communication Sciences and Disorders program is Madasyn Hofstedt, a first-year speech-language pathology (SLP) graduate student from Cannon Falls, Minnesota.

Like most other CSD undergraduates, Hofstedt’s main goal during her undergraduate career at Northern Michigan University was to be accepted into a prestigious SLP graduate program. That goal was met when Hofstedt was accepted into ISU’s program. While she believed the academic transition from an undergraduate to a graduate program might be a daunting task, Hofstedt knew that the greatest challenge would be making new friends in a brand-new town. While ISU hosts an outstanding SLP graduate program, the majority of the students who choose to attend ISU’s SLP graduate program have also completed their undergraduate degree at ISU. This can make the orientation to graduate school more difficult for students who have chosen to transfer to ISU. Hofstedt shared, “The hardest thing about being the new kid coming to an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people, and feeling like if I don’t fit in or I fail, then I only have myself to pick me back because everyone I love is so far away.”

Lucky for Hofstedt, and all other new students coming to ISU for the first time, the CSD department at Illinois State is filled with outstanding faculty, clinical educators, and students who are all willing to bend over backwards to accommodate the needs of all students. Hofstedt’s biggest piece of advice to all new-coming students is: “Just be yourself. Once you do that, you will find your people that you fit in with because they will appreciate your authentic self. Those will be the people that carry you through the experience.” So, whether you are the new kid, or you know the new kid, be kind, be patient, and always be yourself.