I hope this letter finds you and the school in good health, I’ve been meaning to write this letter for the last four months and have finally found the time to do so. It’s a little bit longwinded, but stick with me.
In May, I was lucky enough to attend the five year reunion just recently, it was a great night and I couldn’t have had a better time catching up with many of my classmates who I hadn’t seen in a matter of years.
As you would expect from a cohort of roughly 160 male students, there were many different tales of life after high school and the different paths which people chose to take over the last five years.
Unsurprisingly many of my classmates had gone straight on to university, worked hard through law and business degrees and were now beginning to enter the work force. We were all incredibly lucky to attend a school that placed enormous value on hard work, discipline and constantly aiming to better ourselves, and as a result many of us have prospered.
But what I found incredibly interesting as I spoke to more and more people throughout the night, was the amount of people, myself included who had left high school with a plan, only to realise that it was the wrong path for them.
Personally I started my university life by tackling a double degree in economics and finance. And whilst I was originally convinced it was what I wanted to do, I soon found myself miserable and disinterested in my studies. It took me 18 months to work up the courage to act on these feelings and 2 years after school, I found myself a university drop out with no real purpose in life.
As you can imagine, this was quite a stark contrast to where I was when I left school and I thought that I was the one of the few who went through this. I was wrong.
So many of my classmates shared similar experiences with me at our reunion. We’re all fully aware of how well prepared we were for the HSC and most of us did incredibly well, none of us hold any grudges or bad feelings toward the school, you couldn’t have done a better job in getting us to a point where we could succeed.
But the the question I keep asking myself is, what’s the point in putting all your efforts into doing well in your testing, if you don’t spend enough time actually discovering what you want to do for the rest of your life?
Now I know that it is incredibly unrealistic to expect everyone to work their dream job in an industry they have a legitimate passion for, it took me four years after I left school to realise how much I loved writing and as a result I now work a job that I adore in the advertising industry.
I just wish that when I was 17 years old, I’d had the foresight to sit down and really figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Now if you’re still reading this, I’m impressed, but the point of this rambling letter is this. Please try and help the current and future students of this great school consider what they really want to do with their lives. Not just what will get them a decent salary or to keep their parents happy.
Yes the school has career nights and teachers who help, but so many of these young people can’t see past business studies or economics as being a guaranteed path to a success. There is a never ending wealth of talent at this school and it’s such a shame to see so many of them doubt themselves down the line, because they rushed into degrees that they think they must do to be successful.
Let these boys know that if they want to be an actor or a writer or a cabinet maker or even a charity worker that these are all valid options to them. It’s rarely spoken about, but the sheer amount of wealth within the school’s community means that many boys feel an invisible pressure to emulate this success. And sadly to many of them, with their sheer lack of experience to life after school, they think the only way they can do this is by getting into law, banking or medicine.
You and the entire staff and school foundation do an incredible job of running this school, I only have good things to say about my 8 years there. But for this school and many to continue to shine, we need to help these students find their passions and then help them find relevant ways to succeed at them. If that happens, there can only be benefits for the students and the entire community.
I don’t have any of the answers, but there are so many people who struggle with this issue, that I thought you should hear it.