What to expect when transitioning to college with SEND
Transitioning to college and preparing for independent life with Nancy, Portland College graduate.
Futures met with aspiring bass player and student at Portland College, Nancy, to share her experience of transitioning and advice to other young people and primary carers.
Tell us a bit about you Nancy
I’m Nancy and just recently celebrated my 20th birthday at a festival! I’m feeling a bit emotional this week with leaving Portland College in a few days after two years here.
What do you think is the main worry for young people when transitioning?
Places like Portland have staff dedicated to supporting you with worries and anxiety and really help you to make the most out of classes. It’s a big jump to independent learning but we’ve done some preparation.
I feel really connected to a lot of the staff here so it’s hard to say goodbye to them as well.
Have you learnt any techniques that will help you manage transition anxiety?
I’ve been playing the bass guitar now for four years and my hero is Kim Deal, an American musician. Listening to her music really calms me and helps me to manage my emotions. It’s really helpful to have a hobby that you can do to relax and I think music will help me a lot while I transition to college.
How physically have you prepared for transition?
Portland have taken us on transition visits to West Notts College and I've just done a summer school day to meet some other students. I made friends with one boy and we laughed which made it a little less worrying. The biggest challenge is the unknown so to see where I will be actually going has helped quite a lot.
I’ve also had some video calls with teams from West Notts to help answer any question and help with my application.
You’ve been doing Travel Training – would you suggest this to other young people?
Definitely, I've just got my Silver award which means I can confidently cross roads, understand different types of crossing, can read bus timetables and other things like that. I was nervous to get the bus before I did Travel Training, but I now regularly do this to go to off-site classes in Mansfield.
Have you done anything else that has helped you to prepare for this next step in your independence?
I’ve been doing volunteering in a shop one day a week. I can sometimes find it challenging on the tills but I feel really independent when I’m at work and I think this has definitely helped build my confidence. Talking to other people and getting to know them has also been good for improving my communication. I hope this will help me when I’m at West Notts College to make new friends.
What final piece of advice would you give to someone also worried about transition?
Just to talk to your new college to see if they can help with your worries and try things like work experience and Travel Training to build confidence and independence before you go.
Also for parents to understand how emotional it is to leave people you’ve made really strong friendships with.
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