This article was written by Abbie, one of our amazing Junior Ambassadors, or as we like to call them Jambo’s! Abbie has kindly written this article to share her experience of taking part in Transition Year. Hopefully, Abbie’s story makes the decision a bit easier for anyone out there who may be struggling on whether or not to participate in 4th Year.
One of the biggest decisions in secondary school comes in 3rd year when you are asked “would you like to do Transition Year or go straight into Fifth Year”. Now, TY is an extra year in school, and for some people, that is their worst nightmare. That is totally okay. Other people might like to take the chance to have a break from studying, make new friends, do some cool things and grow as a person. That is exactly what I did, and I wanted to share some of the reasons why I chose to do Transition Year in case you are looking for some help in making your decision.
I chose to do Transition Year for a few reasons. Firstly, I wanted to give myself a break from studying after the Junior Cert and before the Leaving Cert. I wasn’t sure of my decision as many people are well able to jump straight back in to study. However, I watched some of my friends struggle with burnout and stress having opted to go straight into 5th year. This is when I knew I had made the right decision for myself and took that much-needed break to recharge and do Transition Year.
Transition Year changed me for the better. I was a quiet student who would never volunteer or put myself forward for anything. I really struggled with my confidence. But, I set myself a goal at the start of Transition Year and that goal was to become more confident in myself and my own abilities.
The day I set the goal, the Home-school Coordinator came into my class and asked for two students to come to one of the local primary schools to assist her. The primary school she was visiting actually happened to be the one I attended. So, determined to stick to my goal, I put my hand up. We arrived at the school and we were asked to speak with the 6th class students about our school and what they can expect when they go to secondary school.
This was only the beginning of me achieving my goal. Transition Year gave me so many opportunities. For example, my classmates and I took part in a programme called the Young Creators Programme. It’s a programme run by TU Dublin. Our class was divided into groups of four, each student was given a role. My role was a presenter. You can only imagine my thoughts when I first accepted my role in the team. I wasn’t mad about the idea, but again I decided to push myself and once I got In front of the camera there was no stopping me. I’m an Irish dancer so people think I have confidence because I dance in a room full of people, but speaking in a room full of people and dancing in front of a room full of people are two very different things.
Reflecting back on my time in Transition Year, not only have I seen a change in myself, a lot of my family and the staff in my school have really noticed a difference in my self-confidence.
Now, building my self-confidence didn’t happen at the flick of a switch. It started with small everyday things. So a good example that I noticed was, in the past when teachers sent me on jobs, I would never stop and talk to staff members in the hallways. That was way too scary and daunting. But now I do, and it’s one of the highlights of my day.
I’ve noticed other changes in myself since doing Transition Year. I’m well able to take the role of being the leader in a group as well as being well able to make a speech in front of people, and also not be phased by how many people are in the room.
A big advantage I found from doing Transition Year was helping me figure out what I would like to do as a career. I didn’t know what career path I wanted to go into after I leave school, but Transition Year gave me many opportunities to explore different options and find what I am passionate about. You get to do two weeks of work experience where you work in a company and learn the ropes, this really helped with potential career options.
Transition Year also gives you so many cool once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. One of those for me includes a scholarship I got to go to the Gaeltacht. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I made so many new friends from all over Ireland.
Today, a little more than a year and a half since I did Transition Year, if feel as though I have completed most of the goals I set for myself. I’ve become a World qualifier in Irish Dancing, which means I get to dance at the World’s 2024 in Killarney. I’ve become a prefect for younger students in my school. Now, I take on my biggest goal yet, which is to be Head Girl in 6th Year. I wouldn’t have put this goal in place, wouldn’t have been this brave or have had this much confidence in my own ability if I didn’t do Transition Year.
I hope this article helps any girl out there who is weighing up the options on whether to choose TY or not. I really recommend it to everyone, but again, it isn’t for everyone and that is okay too. But, if you are someone who struggles with their confidence, TY is a huge chance to build yourself up and explore so many incredible opportunities. If you believe it you can achieve it ❤️
We’d like to thank our amazing Jambo Abbie for this article!
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