Former Webster student transfers to a university closer to home

Illustration/Graphic by Victoria Courtney
Illustration/Graphic by Victoria Courtney

Emmett Gladden transferred to Ohio State hoping to find the right college for him after his freshman year at Webster University. At Webster, he found it difficult to create a comfortable environment to live in. However, now that Gladden is at Ohio State he said he does not think it is a better fit than Webster.

Gladden said he had doubts about Webster after his first few days on campus. He realized he was homesick when he called one of his high school classmates from Ohio.

“He just kept talking about how much he loves his college, and I wasn’t able to say I love my college … that’s when I knew,” Gladden said.

Webster Retention Initiatives Program Coordinator Justin Barton said the majority of students realize they are homesick after three or four weeks.

“Webster University is not for everyone,” Barton said.

Gladden said no one at Webster dressed or acted like him so he struggled to make connections. He said his attitude toward Webster would have been different if there were a football team.

“I feel like there would be more people like me (if there were a football team),” Gladden said. “All my best friends played football.”

Gladden grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio where he had played football since 8th grade. Gladden committed more than 14 hours a week to the sport in high school.

“Sports are what keep me interested in things,” Gladden said. “I guess that’s why I felt homesick.”

Gladden is a journalism major focusing on sports writing. He said classes are less challenging at Ohio State. His assignments are broader to accommodate larger class sizes. Gladden said he appreciated the individualized attention he got in his classes at Webster.

Webster University’s freshmen national retention rate is at 80 percent, compared to the average U.S. freshmen retention rate of 77 percent, according to U.S. News. Barton said the most common reason students stay is because of Webster’s faculty and class sizes.

Gladden considered transferring over winter break of his freshman year, but he decided to give Webster one last try.

“The teachers and the people in my classes are what kept me there so long,” Gladden said.

A Webster Groves therapist, Dr. Gwin Stewart Ph.D, said homesickness happens to any one out of his or her “natural habitat.” Stewart said a person’s “natural habitat” could be anything from being around family to doing a certain activity.

“If you don’t have access to something that you are connected to, it can absolutely cause homesickness,” Stewart said. “(Being homesick is) painful for people that are experiencing it.”

Gladden said at Webster he stayed in his room all day, and when he wasn’t in his room, he worked out in the gym.

“When I left the classroom that’s when (homesickness) hit me,” Gladden said. “I felt like I was in jail.”


After The Transfer

Shortly after transferring to Ohio State, Gladden said he realized that Webster itself was not the reason he felt the need to transfer.

“I didn’t think I would miss Webster but I do, a lot,” Gladden said. “I kind of wished I stayed, but it is what it is.”

Ohio State is two hours away from Gladden’s hometown, compared to the six-hour drive Gladden made from Webster. Gladden said it is easier to deal with homesickness when he is closer to his family.

At Ohio State, Gladden said he  found more students that act and dress like him, but he still does not think of Ohio State as a better college than Webster.

“Going from Webster to a top ten party school in the nation is pretty overwhelming,” Gladden said.

Though Gladden does not play college sports, he spends most of his time with the athletes on campus.

He said he misses Webster and is considering transferring back within the school year.


Editor’s Note

Emmett Gladden was a student worker for The Journal last semester. 


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