My Transition Year Experience
I was recently made aware of an ongoing debate surrounding transition year in schools across Ireland. There seems to be an argument in favour of possibly altering transition year in favour of a more academic program or even scrapping the year altogether in some schools which is disappointing to say the least. My transition year experience was one of the most formative years of my life, partly due to the friends I made and more importantly, the experiences I shared with them. I was very fortunate that the school provided an excellent experience with their transition year program. From trips to Paris, foreign student exchanges, film, music and podcast workshops, work experience or our school musical which we performed on stage to thousands over 4 nights. There was a breath of fresh air around the year as we spent time in school without the constant academic pressure looming over us.
It may be somewhat of a cliché but for me transition year really gave me an opportunity to become the person I am today. I say this because it was during this time that my close friend groups started to form. This was important because I found like-minded people with common interests like mine. Spending time with our year away from the academic classroom environment really gave people the opportunity to make new friends and find where they fit in amongst each other. One of my closest friend groups became friends for the first time through the French exchange trip and grew from there. Seven long years later and I’m glad to say we are all closer than ever.
It was through the workshops and musical where I really found a love for music. I wrote my first ever song in a song writing workshop and I performed on stage for the first time with the school musical. I still dabble in music and performing to this day. I have almost a million streams online and I am in the process of recording my first ever album, it’s crazy to think that without transition year I may have never tried my hand in music or performing. It would be naïve of me to think that every school in Ireland is providing a similar standard of year to their students, clearly many students do not have the same access to the transition year experience that I had, whether that is through a lack of funding or location, but I’d urge the Irish education system to consider making transition year as accessible and equal as possible so kids across Ireland can hopefully have experiences similar to mine instead of taking the easy route and getting rid of it entirely