The semester is wrapping up and for some, this may be the final one on campus. And so, it’s important to consider how to transition well. The popular “RAFT” model coined by David Pollock in the book Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, is one way to concretely decide how to move through this transition. The RAFT model is an acronym for Reconciliation, Affirmation, Farewells, and Thinking Ahead.
A fancy word for a simple (albeit, sometimes difficult) action. In other words, is there anyone you need to go to one-on-one to apologize to, make things right with, hash out some misunderstandings? Stepping into a place where you can talk about conflict takes courage and vulnerability. It’s an important action to bring about understanding and forgiveness. Here are some steps to an apology as a framework to reference:
- Express sorrow (I’m sorry)
- Own guilt (I was wrong)
- Name the specific wrongdoings (I did ____________________)
- Name the impact (I hurt you)
- Don’t blame shift/defend (But you…I’m sorry if you…..)
- Don’t use passive voice (I’m sorry if you were offended….)
- Make amends (What can I do)
Another fancy word simply translated: let’s celebrate each other a little bit more! What do you love about someone? Their encouragement? Their detail-orientation? Their courage? Their timeliness? Their active volunteerism? Their jokes? Their availability to have a heart-to-heart sesh at 2am on a Tuesday? Take some time to reflect on how various people have invested in your life this semester and thank them for it! This is a beautiful way to demonstrate your love and to honor the people in your life. Some card-writing prompts could include:
- One thing you did for me this semester that stands out is…….
- One comment you made to me that really encouraged me was……..
- Thank you for taking the time to….
- It meant a lot to me that you….
- Your ability to……
- I deeply appreciate your…..
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, goodbye! We TCKs are no stranger to this word. We’ve done this action and said a variation of this word (sometimes in multiple languages!) countless times. This year it may look a bit different on campus, though. With social distancing regulations in place and students leaving on different days, it’s important to make a list of who you want to see before you leave campus yourself. For Seniors especially, it’s important to say farewell to the places that have been significant to you on campus as well. Take some time to reflect on campus about how the places and people have encouraged you, challenged you, and shaped you into who you are today.
It’s a hard ask this year with so much change and ambiguity. Thinking ahead may be daunting, discouraging, and even depleting. Protect your energy and thoughts as you think ahead. Write out what you can control and the decisions you can make to set you up for success next semester. Don’t dwell on things you cannot control. 2021 may not be as clear as you want, but continue to give yourself permission to dream and to goal-set; and to name and own your desires — to claim them as gifts from God.