Henry Ford once said “If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.”
Transition Year, I believe, has provided us with an opportunity to embrace these ideals. In just the past year, we have been given a chance to think outside the box, a chance to complement our academic knowledge with real life situations. Released from the constraints of the classroom walls we were given an opportunity to build essential life skills and to explore our personal interests. Motivated by our victories and enlightened by our mistakes, I’d like to think that overall, we thrived.
Starting off in September, I was advised by a fourth year Rochestown veteran to participate in as many activities as possible. From the school’s chess club to Chinese classes, to hiking the Galtee Mountains, I was willing to give everything a go. It seemed that with the passing of each day came a new challenge to look forward too.
One of the greatest challenges for me was the two weeks work placement. This was my first step into the world of business and has been very influential in directing me towards my choice of career. Fortunately, I was not left to rot in front of a printer or filing cabinet counting the seconds that went by. Davy Stockbrokers and Coca-Cola HBC were very good to me, happy to give me their time and an understanding of the day to day running of their businesses. Each provided me with advice that I might have never obtained had fourth year not been mandatory.
In terms of ability, along with my fellow students, I was able to grow not just physically, but socially and morally. The numerous activities we were involved in tested us on many levels. Among the most memorable, was the trip to Oysterhaven. I certainly didn’t expect to develop the skill of squeezing into wetsuits. Another entertaining activity we undertook was our film studies where we were given a chance to produce our own movie and work together to create a real box office hit. I also enjoyed taking part in a road safety/car maintenance exercise in February which involved replacing tyres, driving a car (albeit slowly) and running around like a lunatic with beer goggles decorating my face. I could stand here for two hours and I still wouldn’t be able to convey the atmosphere and excitement generated as a result of the countless activities.
In future years when we feel reminiscent of the old times we will certainly have engraved in our memories the transition year that has given us all a chance to discover who we are, who we will be. I find it hard to grasp, that in this room sit future: engineers, scientists, economists, entrepreneurs and even politicians and civil servants, hopefully not too many of them. This year has played a vital part in pointing us in the right direction.
Finally, I want to stress the importance of fourth year not only as a platform for life skills building but also for providing each student with a strong academic foundation, ensuring we are better equipped to face the demanding workload of the two years ahead.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the school, our principal Mr O Mathuna and our teachers and a special thank you to our transition year co-ordinator Ms Slattery for engineering an incredible year.