Victoria Bolden

Transfer Student Finds Happy Landing at Buffalo State


When Victoria Bolden began her studies at Medaille University four years ago, she did not expect to be finishing her degree at Buffalo State. But following Medaille’s sudden closure in August 2023 and a stressful transition right before her senior year, Bolden found that Buffalo State provided unforeseen opportunities. She will graduate this Saturday during Buffalo State’s 152nd Commencement ceremonies as a proud member of the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program and the Psychology Department’s Hulicka Scholars Program

After considering her transfer options, Bolden chose Buffalo State for several reasons. The teach-out agreement with Medaille made the transition smoother, and there was another silver lining: Buffalo State offered research opportunities in psychology that Medaille did not. 

Taking AP Psychology amid the COVID-19 pandemic during her senior year of high school provided Bolden with perspective and allowed her to analyze and understand the pandemic’s impacts. “I already had an interest in psychology,” she said, “but I didn’t necessarily have the words or knowledge before AP Psych to realize the connection.” From then on, Bolden knew psychology was her path.

After the pandemic’s disruption of many senior-year milestones, Bolden was excited to start fresh at Medaille the following fall as a psychology major. She jumped in with both feet during her first three years, getting involved on campus and even becoming a student ambassador to help prospective students find their places and figure out their journeys. 

She said she and her peers found out about Medaille’s closing last summer—at the same time as the public. 

“It came as a shock,” Bolden said. “I was in denial at first.” But when the realization hit, she knew she needed to start planning for her final year. With transfer logistics sorted out, Bolden prepared to begin again at Buffalo State.

 “It didn’t feel real,” Bolden recalled. “I felt like a freshman again, mentally, starting over at a new place with new people.” 

At first Bolden spent most of her free time on campus in the honors hub, where she could eat lunch, study, and hang out.  But it was lonely; she only knew a few people on campus. Bolden said she had to get “back to the freshman mentality of getting involved and taking as many opportunities as possible to adjust to campus life and meet new people.” She joined the Psychology Club and got involved in other opportunities on campus. Over time, she adjusted to her new normal. 

“Bad things happen, but so do good things. We don’t focus on the positive as much as the negative—but we should.”

- Victoria Bolden, Psychology Major, Class of 2024

When things felt overwhelming, Bolden considered giving up, but the people in her life were instrumental in getting her through the hard times. “I would talk to my friends and family when I was having doubts,” she said. “They reminded me it was all worth it and things would work out.” Bolden, who is usually the one to play the supportive and optimistic role among her family and friends, said the support of her loved ones “helped me get back on my optimistic track.” 

Despite the challenges, Bolden became known around campus for her optimism and dedication. Jill Norvilitis, Buffalo State professor of psychology, described her as “a lovely person with a positive, hardworking attitude.” 

Originally determined to work in mental health counseling, Bolden said her experiences have inspired her to take a step back and reexamine her options. After graduation, she wants to work in the field and explore various professional and practical aspects of psychology to make sure she chooses a path aligned with her goals and passions. 

Bolden is embracing the lessons she has learned and acknowledging that there are always opportunities to change, learn, and grow.

Overall, she remains an optimist, taking every challenge she encounters to heart as a learning and growing experience. “Bad things happen, but so do good things,” Bolden reminds herself. “We don’t focus on the positive as much as the negative—but we should.”

Photo by Jalen Wright, Buffalo State academic advisor.