Message From the Principal
When I was ten years old, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I spent all my summers with my face down in the water snorkelling and observing. I read about the oceans and the coastlines. I loved being there. When I was sixteen I wanted to be an actor, and bring stories to life. I went to Drama classes, I did my work experience in a theatre and at uni started a drama group with my friends. Both these things, at the time I loved passionately and thought “this is how I want to spend my life”. Clearly neither happened!
“Follow your passion” is a catch-cry we hear throughout our society. Whether talking about career choices, leisure or relationships, it’s the default model – doing what you love will make you happy. When we follow our passions, it can be exciting, but sometimes those passions wane, sometimes things don’t work out or when what you love becomes your work it can become harder. Doing what you love is a good start, but if that’s your only motivator, it’s a flawed approach to life.
A couple of years ago, Ben Horowitz, a highly successful entrepreneur delivered the Columbia University graduation address, and stated that following your passion is a very me-centered view of the world. When you go through life what you’ll find is what you take out of the world …is much less important than what you put into the world.
My recommendation is to follow your contribution, find the thing that you’re great at…help the world be better, and that is the thing you should follow.
Our passions change as we grow and change, they are not fixed – and often we have more than one. When following your passion means struggling researchers discovered people are more likely to give up. When I reframe that approach to ask how can I contribute more, it provides a greater sense of purpose. Find a way to use your passions to serve others.
Last week we commissioned our new Student leadership team for 2023. It was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the nature of leadership at the College. We follow the example of Jesus who came to earth “not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 10:28). So often we’re told that leaders are the powerful ones, the important ones. But Jesus turns leadership on its head – the purpose of being a leader is not to be the most privileged, but to be the most humble. Our student leaders serve the College Community. We want to encourage not only our new prefects but all our students that rather than following your passions, think about how you can contribute, think less about what you can take, and more about what you can give. We look forward to the many ways our new Prefects and House Captains will serve us to make our College a better place!