Transition – Mind the Gap! Leaving home to study in 2017?

by | Jan 3, 2017

Transition – what are we talking about?

Leaving home to attend University, TAFE or start a new job is a time of transition for any young person. Transition is stepping from the station platform onto the train – you don’t want to slip between the gap! You want to be sure you are stepping onto the right train, and you need to make sure you have everything you need for your journey.

Making a smooth transition requires planning, courage and support. It’s one of life’s major challenges, and can be unsettling if unprepared for the adventure that awaits.

Defined, Transition is: “the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another”. We transition throughout our lives – from year to year, one home to another, from school to work, or work to retirement.

Being prepared for this period of change is critical. Transition is emerging as a key concern of post-compulsory school education, whether moving from high school to a job, GAP year, TAFE program, apprenticeship, or university study.

My experience of the transition out of home, way back in the 1990s, is vastly different to the transition experienced by today’s young adults:

  1. ‘Transition’ as a concept didn’t really exist. It was called ‘leaving home’ and was generally accepted as something you did when you finished school. Now, “transition” is a whole area of academic research. There are specialists in Transition Pedagogy across the world, and transition concepts span years – not just the first few days out of home. These specialists provide frameworks for transition and develop programs to support all involved.
  2. The internet had no impact in our social lives. Few people had mobile phones, and we wrote letters or postcards to connect with friends and family. We weren’t as up to date with what was happening back home, and it was harder to keep in touch with friends and family. In most cases, you had to make new friends and connections, because you just couldn’t keep in touch in the same way as we can now. These days, FOMO (fear of missing out – tip for digital immigrants) is a major issue. There’s intense competition as to who is living the most awesome new life in their new environment, with snapchat, facebook or Instagram posts sharing ups and downs instantly with new and old friends.
  3. My parents and I had similar moving out experiences. Our experiences in our new environments were in person, by phone or through the post. Uni in the 60s and 70s wasn’t that much different to the 80s and 90s. Today, it’s unlikely that most parents have much experience in common with what their kids will go through. For today’s students, the reading and information processing expectations are huge (email, website, online forms and timetables) and the communication styles are completely different (facebook chat, webinars and skype). It can be just as confusing for parents as it is for the young person. Both generations are starting a journey.

My experiences working in higher education and secondary education mean I know about the huge differences between high school and university or TAFE. My own recent experiences as a student mean I understand the expectations for study for current students. My contacts, across Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland and America, provide me with insight and perspective relevant to many different settings.

If you want to make a smooth transition, the first step is to understand what you know and what you don’t know. One you’ve got that clear, you can work on what you need to know.

I can help you navigate the system, understand the language, and prepare for the next part of life’s adventure! Contact me to find out more.