When people hear the term “transition,” especially in the context of young adults transitioning in to college, there is an implied sense of an “in between” or “limbo” time period. People tend to think young adults struggle with transition because it’s a time of ambiguity. This concept of transition is false, and thinking of transition in these loose terms won’t necessarily help young adults. Transition is really the shifting from one thing to the starting of another. For example, the shift from high school, and the starting of college. The shift from living with parents, the starting of living in a dorm. The shift from doing homework assignments every night to the starting of writing a term paper over the course of a semester. The shift from playing a video game, and the starting of studying. If we were to put it in terms of executive functioning, transition could be defined as the SHIFT from one task and then the INITIATION of a new task. When we are able to really break down the meaning of what transition truly is, and how it relates to young adults, we can create interventions that are more directly informed in helping young adults succeed.

Here are some strategies support services can use to help young adults learn to SHIFT:

  • Use a timer or alarm to signal when it is “time up” for a specific task, such as when it is time to stop playing a computer game.

  • Use mindfulness as a preventative technique to strengthen awareness of present state, which allows for greater capacity in readiness to move.

  • Provide an accountability partner and teach methods of self-accountability to monitor progress and completion of tasks.

Here are some strategies support services can use to help young adults learn to INIIATE:

  • Use a favorite song to prompt the start of a task such as putting laundry away.

  • Use mindfulness as a preventative technique and coping strategy to address anxiety that often comes up with the starting of new things.

  • Create a routine in both environment and actions, which forms paired associations within an individual’s life allowing them to have less hesitations when starting a new task.