Are you starting TY in September? Here are ten tips you should know before starting an exciting new year!
Tip No.1 Get Involved
You will hear this a lot during the year but our first tip is to get involved. Transition Year can be seen as a break but also an opportunity. Transition Year presents students with a lot of opportunities but it is ultimately up to you to take those upon yourself. You will hear people say that Transition Year was boring or a “doss” but you will also hear people saying Transition Year was the highlight of their secondary school education. It really does come down to getting involved.
Tip No.2 Organise Your Work Experience Early
One of the most important aspects of TY is work experience. Students all over your county will be looking for the best place to work and that’s why you should organise your work experience as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the month before you start work experience to organise it. Also, try to find work experience in a place you would actually like to work rather than just going to a relative’s shop for the sake of it. The experience is just as important as the work. Obviously, with COVID-19 restrictions, finding work experience may be a bit more difficult but you should still try to find somewhere to work that you will benefit from.
Tip No.3 Develop Your Personal Skills & Hobbies
As there’s not so much focus on traditional learning in Transition Year, you will find that you have more time for yourself than you did in third year. Use this extra time to perhaps go back to your local Taekwondo club or taking up learning piano or guitar. Transition Year is all about developing yourself by discovering new – and old – interests. Perhaps there was a hobby you took up during quarantine, TY will most likely give you the time to keep up that hobby!
Learning an instrument in TY is great idea!
Tip No.4 Develop New Skills
As well as developing your existing skills, perhaps try learning something new. You will definitely learn new skills in TY such as making a CV and presenting, however, try getting into an extracurricular activity. We recommend coding or a sport. Both can be tricky to get into at the start but once you do, you’ll enjoy it and be happy that you did. There are many – almost too many – resources online to help you learn something new!
We recommend learning how to code during TY.
Tip No.5 Research TY Activities and Competitions
Before starting TY, it’s good to know what you’re getting into. Do a bit of research into the activities and competitions you can get involved in and you never know what you might find interesting. The great thing about TY is that there’s something for everyone. From art to science to debating, you’re bound to find something that interests you. Check out a list of competitions you can participate in here.
YSI (Young Social Innovators) is a fun project for anyone.
Tip No.6 Volunteer
TY students receive a lot of praise for their charitable deeds. The opportunity will arise for you to volunteer for a project and we have one piece of advice, do it! Volunteering allows you to meet new people and it looks great on your CV.
Student Volunteers with S.H.A.R.E Cork
Tip No.7 Try To Do Well In All Aspects of TY
Depending on how TY is organised in your school, there most likely won’t be a large emphasis on the usual school work, which is nice. Our advice would be that whatever school work, exams or projects you get, you should try to do your best in them. This will at least keep you at a stage where you can still enjoy TY but also be in the position to start 5th year strong afterwards. Most TY students settle back into an academic year just fine so don’t be worried about “going astray” from school work. In fact, research shows that TY students do better in the Leaving Cert than those who didn’t do TY.
Tip No.8 Get Your School Involved
You might find that your school is not involved in a programme or competition you want to participate in. If this is the case don’t be afraid to go to your TY coordinator and ask if something can be arranged. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to research what programmes and competitions are available to you. Remember Transition Year is about you and what you make of it.
Tip No.9 Keep Your CV Updated
Throughout the year as you participate in different activities and competitions you should remember to always update your CV. All the information you add will become valuable to an employer when you’re looking for work experience or a Summer job. You can download CV templates here.
Tip No.10 Keep a Record of Activities You Get Involved In and Stay Organised
In some schools you are asked to keep notes on your daily activities in TY, whether it’s learning 1 – 10 in Chinese or any progress you make with Mini-Company. If your school doesn’t do this we advise that you keep some kind of record yourself. Simple bullet points at the back of your school journal would do. You might be thinking about what the point of this is. It’s really just for yourself rather than anyone else. When you want to remember what you discussed last week at a meeting you’ll be able to take out this record and check. At the end of the year when you’re putting together a TY portfolio this record will be very helpful. Also even after TY, it’s nice to able to look back at this record and see all the activities you got involved in.
Make sure to always stay organised during the year too. Work towards deadlines and keep on top of everything you need to do. From our own experience in TY, we found ourselves needing to finish a 2000 word essay (for a competition), while preparing for a Mini-Company competition and finishing that science project that was due a week ago!