A role defines individual behaviors in a particular function, but it is defined in terms of a relationship to other functions. With each role comes a different expectation, which sometimes results in conflict or leads to stress. Role development is growth that occurs as a person learns the expectations and behaviors for each role.
You are beginning the journey to transition into a new role. To do that, you must first embrace the role of student, in which you find yourself now.
Types of Roles:
|Acquired: step-parent||Ascribed: parent|
|Personal: student||Genetic: sibling|
|Societal: member of a church group||Social: PTA president|
|Professional: nurse, chiropractor, etc.|
Change can be:
- Planned: a personal decision, such as returning to school
- Forced: organizational requirement, such as phasing out various health care positions
Change is a never-ending process, and includes three phases:
- Endings: leaving behind the old, the familiar
- Mid-ground: neutral, calmness
- Beginnings: embracing your new role, i.e. that of a student, an RN, etc. What do you need to leave behind? Let go of? What can you look forward to?
As a result of change, you feel unsettled. Issues or feelings you may experience as you go through this transition include:
- Commitment—with all this work, will it really pay off?
- Balance—juggling multiple roles and responsibilities (work, family, study)
- Ambivalence—do I really want this?
- Loss—letting go/grieving for previous roles; letting others do things (e.g. laundry, grocery shopping).
- Finances—costs associated with degree; should I spend all this money? How can I budget this?
- Support—fear of asking for help; possibly not having any support or others to help.
Strategies for a Successful Role Transition:
- Attitude: maintain positive thoughts about succeeding and earning your degree.
- Imagery: envision yourself passing your courses and examinations, completing your degree and walking across the stage at Commencement. Envision yourself in a new job.
- Immersion: immerse yourself — join the MyExcelsior Community (login required), chat with other students, use the book swap, chat with your advisor and/or faculty member. Join professional organizations.
- Support: seek out support from other students, family members, friends, coworkers.
- Journal: your feelings, issues your experience.
Take a minute and list your roles. You’ll be amazed at what you actually accomplish in the course of 24-hours.
Take some time to also journal some of the issues and feelings you are experiencing and make a plan to address them and to gather the support you need to pursue your education.