RM Column May 30th – In praise of Transitions
I have to admit I was not the slightest bit enthusiastic about the Young Wan doing Transition Year. I just couldn’t get my head around it, ‘WHAT, a year with no studying, real classes or exams! Is that wise?
For me it made little sense for students to stop in their tracks after the Junior Cert, surely they would get lazy, get out of the studying and working habit at a crucial age. However I was wrong and I am delighted to say that, for a load of reasons.
Firstly having a year without the stress of exams has been fantastic, seriously fantastic for both of us.
Given that the participants in Transition range are on average about 16 years old the year gives them the chance to grow up and mature, something that I have really noticed in herself.
Then, if the school has a good Transition Year programme, they get the chance to do all sorts of weird and wonderful things. I’m not saying there were not complaints from the Young Wan about the year but it wasn’t along the lines of what I would have imagined it to be.
She threw herself into everything, volunteered for everything and one of her complaints was down to this. She took part in an engineering open day in DCU and hated it. But the point is she did it.
One thing she loved was an open day in one of the hospitals, particularly the radiologist. Personally I think it has a lot to do with the fact they were x-rays of the more bizarre cases such as the man who swallowed a lighter.
She went on field trips, overnight hikes, media courses, she did all sorts.
This putting her hand up for everything paid off too. As a result she was asked by her year head along with two others to do a talk for the students coming into Transition Year to tell them what to expect. One piece of advice she said that I think was really important was that the students in her year who have complained about being bored are those who sat on their hands and did nothing.
She has flourished over the year; she has gained confidence in herself and in school. She knows more what she likes and what she doesn’t. On top of it she is a year older and a year wiser.
I’m not the only person who has noticed. A few months back when she was organising to take a media course, of which only three students took part, I was in contact with one of her teachers.
Up to now this meant she had been misbehaving or something negative. But not this time.
After her teacher and I sorted out the details of the course she then said that the Young Wan was really doing well and they were seriously impressed with her.
About time too, I thought, after all she is an amazing kid. Then the report came in and it was brilliant.
It was about this time I started to change my views on Transition Year, I could see all these amazing changes in the Young Wan, I may soon have to refer to her as the Young Woman!
At the end of the year they had a graduation for the year where they were presented with all the certificates of the things they took part in during the year and the Young Wan has an impressive folder following all her activities.
As usual I found out about it the night before and she was like ‘ach few parents are coming so don’t bother’ and I didn’t go.
Then I got an excited text from her saying that she was nominated by her teachers for student of the year, one of five students given the honour.
Of course I could have told them she was more than capable of this but I suppose this was something the school had to see for themselves and this year, finally, she has allowed herself to shine.
So I am very proud of her and delighted with how much she has enjoyed the year. If you are about to go into Transition Year be sure and take part in everything, you’ll enjoy the year more and you’ll learn more about yourself.