Why schools need to do more in helping their students transition into the real world.

schools May 17, 2022

In this modern world, opportunities are greater than they have ever been. We can start a business from anywhere in the world, study at a university that we will never step foot in and work with people on a daily basis who we will never meet face-to-face. So, if there is so much opportunity out there, why do the majority of Year 11 and 12 students have so much anxiety around leaving school?

Having been fortunate enough to work with many individuals who are currently going through this transition, I have seen how stressful this phase of a young person's life can be. These students are made to feel as though they need to have their lives mapped out by the time they finish high school. Society puts such a big emphasis on asking them about what they’re going to do after school or what they want to do as a career (implying that they have to do that for the rest of their lives). They are made to feel as though what they are going to do in the next phase of their lives is the most important decision that they will ever make, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

The first few years after school should be about exploration, experimenting, and discovery. We should be encouraging these young adults to try things, fail, learn from the failures, discover their passions and do things that they truly love. We expect these kids (yes, they’re still just kids), to be able to deal with everything that is going to be thrown at them once they leave the safety of school, without actually giving them the tools they need to do so. They’re being taught about being more resilient and how to bounce back from tough times by putting up a shield to protect themselves. However, in doing this, these schools are only teaching them how to survive. They are failing to teach them how to become more adaptable so that they can thrive.  

A recent survey done by a school we have worked with, showed that 87% of students did not have the ability to be able to deal with the stress in their lives. This means that almost nine out of ten students are overwhelmed by the current stresses that are being placed upon them. What the most alarming part is is that this is happening while they are still at school, they haven’t even begun to experience the even more stressful ‘real world’ post school. These kids are being taught to be reactive in order to just keep surviving, instead of learning how to become more proactive.

These students are lacking the basic tools required to transition successfully out of school and into adulthood. They have spent their entire life in a structured learning environment, where they are instructed what to do, when to eat, where to go, when to get things done by and are ultimately taught how to be ‘successful’ within an environment which has been created for them. They have not been given the opportunity to learn how to not only be successful in life, but more importantly, how to be successful in THEIR life. They are taught a one-size-fits-all model, which might work for some but can leave the majority believing they are not good enough, smart enough or will never amount to anything worthwhile.

We need to be teaching our younger generations to become more adaptable, so that no matter what situation they find themselves in, they can look for the opportunities. We need to be teaching them skills that are transferable across all major areas of their lives. We need to be giving them hope that no matter what is thrown their way, they are prepared to be able to deal with it. Rather than fearing the next phase of their lives, they should be embracing what’s ahead of them.


Written by:

Ben Haren

'The Adaptability Movement' Co-Founder


To express interest about booking Ben for a Keynote at your school, email: [email protected]


To learn more about the programs The Adaptability Movement runs in schools, click HERE.


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