Transition Chat: Building Your RAFT
When students are preparing to end high school and to begin college, there is a complicated assortment of emotions and psychological adjustments involved. To be clear, this process is about transition, and there is a fairly predictable sequence of this process to anticipate. For most, the stages of transition look like grief (see graphic below)! We have spent time in class with the seniors and with parents discussing this process (and you can see the slidedeck here), but this is a deep and complex process, and so this week we ask for students and their parents to contemplate their own transitions, keeping in mind that parents and students transition each themselves but also as members of a community or communities.
The helpful acronym for building resources for an effective transition is RAFT, standing for the components of Reconciliation, Affirmation, Farewells, and Think Destination. Take some time to review what each of these mean here first.
For this week, we encourage students to consider the following prompt:
How will you build your RAFT?
Here are some additional thoughts and questions to contemplate:
What relationships do you have that might need attention to heal or resolve before you leave? Think about family members, teachers, friends, others.
For those damaged relationships, what happened? Why? Reflect on what your role was and own it with the goal of making things better.
When would be the best time to reconcile your challenges?
What do you need to say or do to make things right?
How can you deliver your message most effectively?
Who has made your journey better?
What did they do to help you on your way?
What can you do to thank them?
When would be the best time to express your appreciation?
How would you do this?
To whom or what do you need to say goodbye? Think about people, of course, but also think about places and routines!
Why are these worthy of your farewell? What experiences have prompted this?
What does a proper goodbye look like for each of these? How will you do this? Gifts? Cards? Conversations? Letters? Emails? Hugs?
When would be the appropriate time and place for the goodbye?
What will your next destination be like? (Parents: What will your life be like without your child?)
What can you learn about it in concrete terms?
How will it be different from where you are now? The same?
What questions do you have that will help you develop your comfort?
Most of the rest of these transition posts will assist you in this final piece of “Think Destination” with specific and concrete questions; however, be sure to take the time to put together a thoughtful process for Reconciliation, Affirmation, and Farewells! Start making a list!
This piece is part of a series on “transitioning to college.” We encourage graduating seniors and their parents or guardians to engage in discussion on a weekly basis about these topics. If you have feedback or additional ideas or perspectives to share, please let us know so we can incorporate your thoughts into revisions of our posts.