Some people consider it a waste of time but others think of it as a year during which you mature and develop new skills.
I myself am a TY student in the Dominican College Taylor's Hill, in Galway city.
Why did I choose TY? Well, I recently just moved from Italy and since Italian is my first language, I thought it would be better to enter a more relaxed year so that I can improve my English and get comfortable with the new school system.
I must admit at the start of the year we took it slow and did not do much, lessons aside, but after the first month we have been quite busy wih excursions, projects and guest speakers.
During TY there are no exams nor do they assign us much homework, therefore we have more free time during our afternoons to do sports, practice our favourite hobbies and just relax. We are studying new subjects (such as career guidance, empathy, Spanish, speech and drama, etc, ) and developing new skills like cooking, and public speaking.
We sit a double Toastmasters class each week to improve our speeches and even though at first nearly everybody hates it, as you go on and get comfortable with your fellow students, it is actually quite fun and it helps you speak in front of many other people.
One of the best things about this year, is the fact that we get to go on work experience for two weeks. We choose a workplace that interests us as a future career and if they have room for another student, we'll be working with them for one or both weeks. This gives us a chance to fully understand how adulthood works and if the career we're thinking of is adequate for our skills, or if it is not the right job for us.
Usually, students choose to take part in this optional year because they do not want to enter the Leaving Certifiate cycle straight away, with all its homework, tests and stress. Or they just choose it because they're unsure about what subjects to pick for the State exam.
Other students, on the contrary, prefer to go straight to fifth year because they either want to finish school as soon as possible, considering TY a waste of time, or simply because they have many years of university ahead of them (if they want to do medicine for example ) and do not want to mess around.
It is proven that TY students in fifth year get better results because they are more mature and focused than students who do not do TY.
I'm enjoying transition year so far, I'm still adjusting to the longer school hours but in the complex it is really good.
My teachers are great, the people in my class are really nice, the excursions we went on were interesting and the projects were quite enjoyable. I hope nothing will change throughout the year.