At the first College Assembly for the year, I spoke about the importance of recognising that each student is going through one of their largest transitions in any given year, the movement from eight weeks of holidays to coming back to working and learning in a school community. Most people struggle with change and transitions, which are natural. Change can bring some discomfort, excitement and new possibilities. The Greek Philosopher Socrates provides us with some advice on how to handle this change; ‘the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new’.
Adapting to change is important and a requirement of returning to be part of the Waverley College community so that all boys can flourish. I outlined to all students our expectations around the following:
- Good manners
- Language use
- Developing empathy for others
- Not judging others
- Letting boys know they are not alone
- Being safe
- Not discriminating against someone based on their race, gender, colour, age, sexuality, religion
- Keeping our environment clean and tidy
- Standing up to bullies, being an upstander, not a bystander
- Representing the College with pride.
Renowned Australian Psychologist Dr Andrew Fuller, who presented two years ago to both students and staff at Waverley, has come up with thirteen tips on ensuring your son has a great year. I include these for your reference and as a useful checklist for discussions you may like to have with your son.
- Build positive relationships with everyone you know
Parents, teachers, friends, everyone! One of the ways of reducing your stress levels is to set out to have as many positive friendships this year as you can.
- Challenge yourself
You are much, much smarter than you know. If you practice doing your best in life you will succeed because very few people ever practice doing their best. To do your best you have to get out of the habit of predicting that things won’t go well for you. If you look for what’s going to go wrong, you will always find it. If you look for what works, life just gets a lot easier.
- Prepare yourself for learning
Thinking positive isn’t enough for successfully achieving goals. Implement ways to reduce distractions, at least for a few hours at a time, or else learning will become a frustrating experience.
Human nature is such that not everyone in your life will be a well-wisher in your self-improvement and learning plans. They may intentionally or subconsciously distract you from your goal.
- Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep helps you to manage stress, stay happy and also increases your marks. You need at least 8 hours and sometimes as much as 9 and a quarter hours a night.
- Eat breakfast
A lot of people skip breakfast, but you often learn best at school in the morning and it helps to have some protein in you to feed your brain. A lack of protein can actually cause headaches.
- Do the most important things first
Get into the habit of being effective. Write a to-do list each week. Ask yourself the question, “What is the one thing I could do this week in each subject area that would improve my results?” Then do it.
- Use your time well
Many people muck around in school and then wonder why they have to do so much work outside of school. If you can focus and listen well while at school you can save yourself endless hours. Some people find if they sit at the front they are less distracted.
Teachers want their students to do well. Watch your teachers closely. Observe the things that they emphasise or repeat. Take notes of these things. It is a fair bet that these things will feature in tests and exams.
- From little things big things grow
Do a little bit often. Succeeding at school can be easy if you do a little bit each day. The best learning occurs when you do repetitive interval training. This means do a little bit of practice every day. Interval training is especially powerful in subjects like maths and the sciences.
- Focus and immerse yourself
For at least some time every day switch all forms of technology off and focus on whatever you’re studying. Don’t try to watch TV, listen to music or gaze at a screen at the same time as learning something. Technology is not going to be there in exam rooms so you need practice performing without it.
- Don’t try to predict the future
Most students are really bad at predicting how well they are going to do. In fact, they are hopeless at it. So don’t spend the year thinking how awful your results could be. Just do the most important things first and do them regularly.
- Be curious
Think of someone you know who always seems to know interesting things- weird facts, strange occurrences, funny jokes, and wacky stories. Try to be one of these people. Look out for and learn things that are fun and interesting.
- Play more
Get active, break out into a sweat now and then. Lack of blood flow is a common reason for lack of concentration. If you’ve been sitting in one place for a while, stand up and stretch or bounce one of your legs for a minute or two. It gets your blood flowing and sharpens both concentration and recall. Even if you are busy, three twenty-minute bursts of exercise a week makes a massive difference to your stress levels, happiness and sleeping.
- Decide to be happy
Lots of people wait to be happy. They wait for the situation to be right. Or they wait for the right friends to show up. Some people spend their entire lives waiting to be happy. Decide to be happy now. Have a look at the things in your life you can feel lucky that you have. Appreciate the people who like you and love you. Make the most of the moment and seize the day.
Dr Andrew Fuller (2020).
The College’s thoughts and prayers remain with the Perkin family. A memorial to celebrate Archie’s life was celebrated at the College this week. Both Archie’s parents Nicola and James, spoke about Archie’s love and passion for life, his great times at Waverley and the importance of being a good mate that looks out for others. Archie has clearly made a massive impact on many boys at the College and is greatly missed. A tree has been planted in memory of Archie who had a love for the environment. The tree is located near Birrell Street in front of the Kenny Quad.
The College is continuing to monitor this matter with NSW Health and will advise of any further details as they come to hand. As always, the health and wellbeing of our students remain our number one priority, and I would ask that you remain alert to your son’s wellbeing. Although our College does not have an international student program, Boarding students and only a couple of our students travelled anywhere near mainland China, we still need to be vigilant and follow the Health Department advice and directions that have been communicated.
The uptake of the new College Uniform has seen 718 students fitted out in the Uniform Shop, which is an impressive number. Congratulations to Ms Chrissy Jones, Ms Tammy Addison and Ms Kat Cattana from the Uniform Shop on their fine work and service in bringing this to fruition.
Congratulation to the following boys on some great achievements:
- Will Cooley (Y12) has been selected to represent Australia in the upcoming SailGP in Sydney.
- Nikita Strbac (Y12) being selected as the Australian Schoolboys Water Polo Captain.
- Jaydon Ellis (Y8) recently captained NSW to beat QLD in the FFA National Futsal Championships in Canberra.
- Ryan Abbott (12) playing this week for the NSW Basketball U20’s at the National Championships.
- Charlie Worthington (Y11) being selected for the NSW 7’s Rugby squad.
- Maxim Brooks (Y10) being selected for CAS U15 Cricket.
- Lucas Dubois (Y8) placed 2nd in the U14 division at the NSW Open Water Championships (5km swim).
- Campbell Groves (Y9) placed 3rd in the U14 division at NSW Open Water Championships (5km swim).