Its been a hectic couple of weeks…what with the submission of my thesis proposal and all. Yes graduate school is no child’s play. I am glad that I can still get some time to write and today I want to talk about a topic that has been on my mind because of my thesis, TRANSITIONS!!!
A bit of boring background…
My thesis is around young people making the transition from residential care to adulthood, which basically means looking at the path young people who grow up in children’s homes take when its time to leave the home and get back into society. Anyway this is not about my thesis, but as I was reading on transitions I realized that we all go through transitions in the course of life and I thought to share mine.
First some clarity on what I am talking about…
Coles classification includes the education-to-work-transition, transitions from family of origin to family of destination(domestic single-marriage-transition) and the transition from residence with parents to independent living (the housing transition).
Granted this is by no means a simple, straight forward process to move from one life stage to another and often we are stuck in one phase for various reasons. Sometimes we leave one phase to go back to another phase and back again.
Nowadays progressing from the school-work phase is not as predictable as it used to be and judging by the numbers of unemployed young people, it is an impossible dream for some. I thank God I was able to make this transition straight from college in 2009, that is when I got my first job as a social worker at Child Welfare. But as I stated above, transitions can reverse themselves in the life course, so I left work to come back to school. Which is perfectly normal and is an upward transition, meaning I made progress.
We all cannot wait for that moment when we get to move out of our parents’ homes to live independently, that one is an exciting phase. All that independence and not having to ask to go to that party or that gathering and come back at your own time. I made this transition at age 19, in 2005 when I left my home country Zimbabwe for the first time to go to South Africa to study. It was an exciting time but I was still a very young adult needing support from my family.
This is when one moves from their family of origin to family of destination. Well, I still need to work on this one….I hope I can start my own family in the near future *from my lips to God’s ears*
I learnt that all these transitions are not in any way following a linear pattern. Sometimes it is back and forth, what some scholars call the yo-yo effect. So then just imagine if you struggled with your own transitions yet having family and friends supporting you, how much more difficult is it for young people who grow up in care of institutions and foster care? Just thinking about this made me reflect on the work I did with children back in Cape Town and those children who turned 18 and had to leave state care to go back into society. What are their chances in the real world after being sheltered and taken care of for years? Just reflecting upon it makes me realize why the work I am doing is significant. I want to find out what more can be done to provide support for young people leaving care into adulthood, because it does not make sense to take care of them when they are babies and then leave them to fend for themselves with no support after 18. After all do we, who never grew up in orphanages and children’s homes, ever really leave our families? We still go back regularly for support so why should care for these young people end at 18.
So when you are thinking about your personal transitions, spare a thought for those with less fortunate circumstances than yours and how they are making those same transitions!!!
Happy weekend ♥