A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Experiences of Flourishing Among University Students Transitioning Directly from High School
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This study explored the experiences of flourishing, among first year university students making the transition directly from high school, to develop a beginning understanding of 1) the factors that promote flourishing amidst this academic and developmental transition, and 2) how first year students define and experience flourishing. An interpretive phenomenological approach, underpinned by Gadamer’s hermeneutic philosophy, was used with semi-structured interviews, in a sample of nine full-time, first year university students, ages 18-20 years. The experience of flourishing emerged as temporal thematic understandings unearthing factors associated with: 1) personal strengths and areas of personal challenges 2) positive and trying aspects of personal health challenges 3) family/parental support and challenges 4) positive and challenging aspects of the living, high school and university environments and 5) positive and challenging aspects of community involvement. These perceptions offer new understandings of the concept of flourishing as well as implications for practice, policy, and research.