by Jacob R., Concordia Applied Journalism
Most students have heard the narrative of graduate high school, then do a senior trip, and then go to college, but there is a critical step missing. Between that potential senior trip and the start of college there is a gap of several months. While experiences in this time period vary wildly from student to student, these months are critical to a successful college transition. They serve as a last chance for another internship or an opportunity to study the culture and language of a student’s future residence. In many cases, particularly in the international school community, these are the last months students will spend living with their families. So, as we prepare for graduation in the next few weeks, now is also a good time to look at the next few months and analyze the variety of roles that they play in the lives of students.
Learning a language:
These months are an opportunity to learn about the culture in which a student may be spending the next four years. As students at an international school, the reality is that almost all seniors will have to leave the country (or at very least the mainland) in order to attend university. While an international experience can make students adept at adapting to new circumstances, this doesn’t mean that a transition to a new country is easy by any stretch of the imagination. As Jake L., a senior planning to attend college in Japan, points out, “Concordia is pretty well established in [helping students through transitions]. Concordia has ambassadors, and when you come into a new environment, they introduce the school.” These support structures may or may not exist to varying degrees in college, so students often use the time in between graduation and matriculation to prepare for a new cultural context. Jake, for instance, is learning Japanese in order to live more effectively in Japan.
Getting an internship:
Beyond the transition to college, students often use their summer to get more work experience. Summer internships are not uncommon, and they allow students to delve more deeply into a subject in which they might major. Carissa W., another senior, plans to use her summer on a medical internship. These opportunities likewise provide an effective opportunity for growth, and they also allow for students to more effectively compete for future internships or job opportunities.
I fall on the other hand of the spectrum of seniors. To me, this summer vacation will be an opportunity to move several suitcases over several months, and more importantly say goodbye to my family. Every student eventually comes to this phase of the transition, and understanding the role the intermediate months can play in the transition can be extremely helpful for those students who feel it may take a little extra time.
Overall, while the months between graduation and college are rarely talked about, they serve an important and well-established role in the transition to college, and despite a wide variety of students and student activities, nobody is planning on wasting these last few months.