3 Fears to Help Students Overcome in Transitioning from High School
For many young adults, the thought of leaving behind a familiar environment and trading it in for a brand new real-world experience can be daunting. The real world brings new challenges, and young adults must leave their established comfort zones, recognize their emotional growth needs, and overcome struggles to establish their new normal.
As an educator or school counselor, you don’t want your students to struggle or just survive, though. You want them to thrive.
By understanding DISC theory and some common fears that students have when transitioning out of high school, you can help guide them down an educational or career path that best suits them. Common fears that students frequently obtain when transitioning out of school include:
President John F. Kennedy once said, “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly." As students prepare to enter college, the work industry, or a trade school, the pressure to succeed can weigh heavily on their shoulders. A survey conducted by the American Society for Quality reported that “46 percent of teens are afraid of taking risks or failing.” Failure is inevitable. School counselors and educators are responsible for students understanding that failure should not be seen as a scary experience but rather as a learning experience. If a student has expressed an intense fear of failure, the first thing you should NOT say is, “Do not be afraid." If your student has taken the DISC assessment and has been classified as a "C" personality style, this could be detrimental. “C” DISC personality types hold themselves to the highest standards and aim for perfection. When failure does come into play, they could be quick to judge themselves. Since the “C” personality type is the most logical of the DISC personality profiles, stick to the facts when discussing their fear of failure. Remind them of their achievements, and despite facing many challenges that come with high school, they have been able to overcome them. The fear of failure can potentially be minimized when it is confronted. Work with the student to create a plan and explore other options if the initial path does not work out.
Even the most composed and calm individuals fear change. Why? Change taps into unpredictability, a fear of being unprepared or insecure, and not knowing what to do in the heat of the moment. It’s no surprise change is a common fear among students. If you recall, in the DISC model by psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston, “S” DISC personality styles fear change, steadiness is one of their major personality traits. On the other end of the spectrum lies stagnation. At times, no change can mean no growth. In a Forbes article written by Mark Murphey, he stated that people are not necessarily terrified of the unknown but of what they think the unknown is. “The overwhelming majority of the time, it’s not the change itself, but rather our interpretations of it that make the situation appear negative,” said Murphey. In other words, the student could potentially be playing out bad scenarios out in their head, ones that are far from reality, leading them to have a negative attitude towards change. Ways that you can aid in conquering the fear of change is through positivity. Celebrating every success, even a small achievement in your student’s transition out of school is essential. For example, if a student has applied for three different universities, congratulate them on their persistence. Acknowledging their successes elevates their confidence and motivates them to go further.
3. Making New Friends
New people can be a stress factor in a new environment. Anxiety surrounding making new friends and meeting new people is a profound fear amongst seniors exiting high school. Questions such as, “Will I fit in?” or “Who can I turn to for help?” arise most of the time, especially by "S" type personalities. This majority of students need to understand that if they miss out on creating new relationships, they could miss out on other networking opportunities. A survey by Monster College stated that “78 percent of job-seeker respondents who were recent college graduates said networking was a factor in their job searches.” Students or those who haven't fully integrated into a workplace may be missing out on more than just a career prospect, though. Young adults who choose to keep to themselves, such as "C" personality types, could be cheating themselves out of learning experiences, personal growth, and long-lasting relationships. Guidance counselors can support students in overcoming their fears of meeting new people by listening, validating their emotions, exploring social extracurriculars that align with the student’s interests, or encouraging them to attend an on-campus orientation. On the other side of the spectrum would be the people who try too hard to make friends. The active “D” and "I" personality types can often times be very outspoken that they are intimidating to more reserved styles. They must conscientiously slow down at times and take the focus off themselves to form healthy relationships. Advisors should inspire those who have taken a DISC assessment to join a social club that sparks their interest based on their personality type.
PeopleKeys aims to provide educators and school counselors with the best tools they need to help their students succeed. Through our StudentKeys program, you will uncover how to help your students develop their soft-skills including: reaching academic goals, increasing their GPA, improving their study skills, gaining confidence, and strengthening their communication skills.