For all students exam results herald a change – whether it’s GCSEs and a move onto the sixth form, work, new school or college; A’ levels/IB and a decision to go to university, work, retakes, gap year or having to make a whole new decision.
Whatever the choice it’s important to negotiate this transition as smoothly as possible. In order to do this, it’s worth keeping Berardo’s (2012) model of 5 R’s of culture change in mind. The 5 R’s are Routines, Roles, Reactions, Relationships and self Reflections. Why not try some of these tips?
Routines – look forward to change but keep a few routines the same – examples include keeping up regular sporting or relaxing activities, contact with friends. If going to university, you might want to learn some family recipes so you can have some of your favourite meals.
Roles – This is a really important area because your identity, responsibilities and sense of purpose will all start to change. Some tips to help with this transition include putting some time aside to have a think about defining your new role and seeing how it’s similar and also different to your old role. Identifying existing strengths to deal with these new challenges and getting some help learning new skills will help enormously.
Reactions – some of us are more flexible to change than others. Recognise your reactions and assess if they are adaptive or not. Being aware of other’s reactions to you will also help to adjust.
Relationships – this is one of the most important areas in helping adjustment and enhancing emotional resilience. Encourage yourself to make new connections, to reach out and engage but also keep in touch with old friends. Find a way of being open about your feelings and concerns, especially with sincere and long-term friends.
Reflections – this is a very valuable element of adjustment but is not always the easiest. Make time to explore your responses and reactions to change, be honest about yourself and think about how you can support positive change and cultivate a sense of self-acceptance. It’s worth writing down some good points about yourself and your situation for example.
Transition is stressful because any change, even positive, takes time and effort and the ability to deal with uncertainty. Building confidence happens slowly, facing things and trying them helps with change. If you have had any previous mental health problems it’s worth supporting yourself even more, especially if you are going to be moving away from your support network. However, without change we remain at a standstill – so set sail and remember you can make the journey and get to your destination with the right thoughts and behaviours.