"They have different information about what is going on": Emotion in the transition to university
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Most new students experience school to university transition as challenging. Students from backgrounds with little or no experience of higher education are most vulnerable in this transition, and most at risk of academic failure. Emotion appears implicated in the differential way in which first-generation students and students with family familiarity of university experience the transition. This article draws on the voices of first-year dental and oral hygiene students at a South African dental faculty regarding university transition experiences. It draws on the construct of capital and Archer’s(2002) understanding of ‘competing concerns’ to examine how emotion shapes students’ experiences of university transition and how they position themselves with regard to these experiences. The article explicates the ways in which emotional commentary and classed locations intersect, exploring the extent to which this intersection shapes young people’s framing of their concerns of ‘being a student’ and ‘becoming a dentist’. The article identifies aspects of the university’s material and cultural environments which shape students’ emotional responses and which consequently are implicated in the perpetuation of class-based differential life chances.