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Student Writing

That Mighty Feeling of Being Seen

I am convinced that the most universal feeling in the world for transferring college students is the feeling that something was missing. That there was something known or unknown that was holding us back at our previous school and told us, “There is a better option for you out there somewhere.” My known feeling was that there must be a university where I would not only interact with the faces I passed, the professors who worked with me and the campus itself, but also where I could thrive and excel. Is it not universal to want to feel that you belong in a space? That you could see yourself becoming your future dreams through what you were doing every single day? I have found that feeling at Immaculata, and it is a mighty feeling.

My college search – round two – was marked by four requirements. Close to home in southeastern Pennsylvania, an emergency management program, understanding from the university for medical concerns and that much-wanted feeling of belonging. I searched. And searched. And searched. Do you know the feeling of finding exactly the opposite of what you want? I do. My searches yielded Florida. Louisiana. Arizona. 80,000 students. 40,000 students. “No accommodations for dietary restrictions.” So many of the aspects that I wanted to avoid or just did not seem like the right fit filed before my eyes. When Immaculata University, Malvern, Pennsylvania, popped up, I was skeptical. Skepticism became intrigue, which evolved into cautious optimism the more and more I read and found out about the place that is now my collegiate home.

I transferred to Immaculata University in the fall of 2023 to pursue my Bachelor of Science in Emergency Planning and Management (EPM). Quite a mouthful, I know, but it is one of the reasons I am here. EPM is a hard degree to find in the northeastern United States, and I could hardly believe it was offered at Immaculata. I love everything about the classes and curriculum here. It seems like no matter who I ask, the education at Immaculata is exactly what we thought it was.

But we all know there is so much more to a university that just academics. The minute I stepped onto campus, which I think you will find as well, I was blown away. The area is beautiful, the buildings are captivating, the library is massive and peaceful. Our back campus is open and carefree, and you will often see pick-up games of frisbee, club activities or friend groups laughing and lounging between classes. The people are friendly here, constantly waving and saying hello or chatting about how the Mighty Macs or 76ers played last night.

When I became a Mighty Mac in the summer before I officially began, I was not swept under the rug. Being a transfer student is not a trait that is shoved aside or shamed at Immaculata. The experience was completely the opposite of any gigantic university horror story that we have all heard of from transfers who ended up behind or swamped in work because of choosing a new school. Events helped transfer students like me understand Immaculata and feel seen and a part of the Mighty Mac family right away.

Speaking of being seen, I mentioned earlier that I have some medical concerns that generally were not appreciated at my previous university. If you know that feeling, I empathize with you, and we both know that it is no fun. Immaculata embraced my condition here, their staff toured me through their kitchen and never gave any sign that any of my requested accommodations were too great. I learned the names of every shift leader in the kitchen, and I am greeted just like every other student there, with a smile and a wave. I have no doubt that they will do the same for anyone who walks through the door; it is just what they do and extend to any student who needs it here at IU.

But I have come to realize that Immaculata is more than just being seen and heard. Immaculata University celebrates their students and their futures by offering courses and majors of many different avenues. Transferring was, and is, a nightmare, but Immaculata quickly connected me with an advisor who helped me through the entire process, fought for me to get credit for prior classes and greeted me with enthusiasm and genuineness from day one. The school supported me through my medical concerns; it is in an area both beautiful and approachable; and it boasts programs that help students truly belong. I have never felt like an outsider or like I didn’t belong in the programs here, and a lot of that is simply due to the genuineness of IU. Immaculata is not a mindset. It is not an attitude. It is a university for the Macs, and it is Mighty – just like us.

By: Kylie McGowan
Class of: 2026
Major: Emergency Management and Preparedness

Kylie McGowan