After taking a season off from soccer during her freshman year at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, sophomore Elle Wierbicky realized she wasn’t fully satisfied with her academic and athletic experience, and decided to transfer to Emerson. After arriving earlier this year, she found a new team that she said helped her quickly transition into a full-time, fully functioning Emerson student.
“I was worried about fitting in, but having a team and a niche to fit into was so nice,” said Wierbicky, a writing, literature and publishing major. “All my friends are on the soccer team and I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable.”
For many, deciding to transfer colleges isn’t easy. Erin Brennen, senior associate director of athletics, said that some of Emerson’s student-athletes transfer to the school for its academics. Many leave behind friends, family, and teammates.
But transfers who decided to join the athletics program said their transitions have been aided by immediately being a part of a team and having other Emerson athletes to lean on.
Derek Thomson, a junior defender on the men’s soccer team, transferred to Emerson and started practicing in August. He started eight games for the Lions this season.
Thomson, who transferred from Keene State College, said that Emerson had much more to offer him academically and professionally; playing soccer was just an added bonus. He said the soccer program at Keene was more intense and required a higher level of commitment.
“Everyone here [at Emerson] is so busy, but at Keene there wasn’t much to do, so it was just soccer, soccer, soccer,” said Thomson, a visual and media arts major.
Brennen works closely with transfers to get them ready for their first seasons at Emerson.
“Some transfer-student athletes have been really great and done a tremendous job,” she said.
Although Wierbicky’s motivation to come to Emerson was based in academics, like Thompson, she said the prospect of playing soccer at Emerson, after getting injured at Roger Williams, was appealing.
“It was a really great feeling,” said Wierbicky. “I had been on a team my whole life and then I got hurt and all I could do was [rehab] and rest. I really missed it.”
Wierbicky’s teammate, senior Naomi Kramer, transferred to Emerson twice over the course of her college career. After attending Rochester Institute of Technology and attending community college, Kramer started her first stint as a Lion in Spring 2012, and since then has transferred to University of Massachusetts Amherst, then back to Emerson this year as a communication sciences and disorders major.
“I transferred out because of [financial reasons], but I came back because of how good the school was and because of the friends I made here,” said Kramer, a defender. “Once I left, I wanted to come back, and now I live with two of my teammates.”
She said being a part of a team and having “instant friends” made her transitions much easier.
“The Emerson community is a little bit different from me,” Kramer, who also plays on Emerson’s lacrosse team as a defender, admitted with a laugh. “The athletes [here] are more like me and I can identify culturally with them more than the typical Emersonian. [My teammates] integrated me and made me feel really connected to people.”
Beacon Correspondent Joe Jacobs contributed to this report.