Make the most of it while you can!
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
"You do learn a lot from TY, if you try to, that is"
Transition Year. There’s mixed opinions on it, but quite a few view it as a ‘doss year’ - a break after exams and just a year of basically doing nothing. And I’m not going to lie, it can be; you get a couple of school projects to do, go on a few trips, but overall you’re not pushed to do much. Unless you motivate yourself.
So you can have a year of taking it easy, but after a while it quickly goes from a relaxing break to just boring if you’re not occupied. If you’re in transition year now, one piece of advice I’d give is to make the most of it. One thing I’ll miss about transition year (besides being able to mock the other years that had actual work to do) is all the free time. You have so much spare time to do whatever it is you want to do – so use it. You’ll have the opportunity to do some things you won’t get the chance to do again, be it abseiling on a school trip, or participating in the Young Scientist competition, or setting up your own mini-company.
If there’s one thing I learned in TY last year it’s that there’s a lot more going on than I’d previously realised – there’s so many things to get involved in. Whether it’s volunteering for a local charity, or signing up for Zumba, or joining different clubs, there’s more to do than you might think.
One thing I dislike in our school system is that there’s often a lack of after-school activities, especially with the cuts in education funding. Some schools also focus heavily on one particular activity, like debating, or sports, and there isn’t always something for everyone. You might be interested in drama, for example, or basketball, but your school might not have these on. Also a lot of the after-school things are competitive, so you might not be able to just do it for fun. So a lot of students don’t get much of a chance in school to explore different interests. And the thing is, school is where you’d find out about a lot of these things.
However, in TY, I got to find out more about things outside of school and in the local community that you can participate in, and even though this year I’ve a lot less free time and sadly a lot more homework, I’m still going to keep up a variety of extra-curricular things. Because, at the end of the day there are more important things than exams (don’t tell my teachers I said that though).
Transition Year, in my opinion, can be the most valuable school year, because for once the focus isn’t on academics. It’s on teamwork, learning new skills, discovering new interests and talents and developing ones you already had. It focuses on different types of achievements than just grades and it highlights personal achievements. It’s great to do well in school and everything, but it’s also important to develop personal skills, whether it’s getting along better with other people, or learning to organise events, or finding out that playing cards in the local nursing home can actually be as much craic as a night out.
You do learn a lot from TY, if you try to, that is. Or you can just as easily waste a year doing nothing and being bored, how much you get out of TY really is up to you. So I learned to get involved. The achievements I’m most proud of that I did over the past year aren’t necessarily ones that you’ll see on a report card, or get a trophy for. But they’re even more important. So, get up and get out there! Find out what there is to do near you, and give different things a go, whether you’re in TY or not. So what will you achieve this year?