College Captain, Michaela Wilson, shares her College Captain’s Address from the Welcome Back Assembly that took place earlier this week.
“There are two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What on Earth is water?"
Fish did not discover water. In fact, because they’re completely immersed within it, they live unaware of its existence. Similarly, when society normalises a certain behaviour, it becomes invisible.
First and foremost, I would like to welcome everybody back from what I trust was a long and very relaxing holiday, to what I hope will be one of the most memorable years at the College.
Beginning a new year is, yes, daunting but equally exciting due to the various opportunities to change your mindset, set new goals and reach new heights. It is a chance for us all to begin fresh and truly raise the bar in whichever discipline that we choose.
In saying this, I would like to suggest one thing I hope we can all work towards accomplishing in 2019 – not the biggest thing, but perhaps a thought we can all keep in the back of our minds as we start the term.
The concept, which I mentioned in a quote earlier, demonstrates the importance of paying attention to others and not just yourself, and making more conscious decisions to do so.
We are all undoubtedly busy in our own ways – packed schedules full of classes, afterschool activities, sports, studying and jobs, and it is easy to become caught up in your own world of busyness and things to do. As a result, we can often lose sight of what is important and forget to acknowledge others around us and the problems they are facing too. It is perhaps our automatic, natural default-setting to pay more attention to ourselves and forget to take notice of others, and eventually, we normalise such behaviour to the point of not realising it – similar to a fish being unaware it is surrounded by water.
This year, I hope we can embrace this mentality to become more aware of our peers, teachers, siblings and parents to acknowledge not only the wonderful things they do for us but challenges they may be facing also.
If we are more aware of others, we can then take the next step to helping them and making a difference.
As American author David Foster Wallace said, “It is about simple awareness – awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: ‘This is water, this is water.’”
So welcome back, enjoy your first day of what I trust will be the most incredible year yet, and remember that the only one with the power to change your future and your mentality and your outlook on life is yourself. I look forward to spending 2019 with everybody here and making it a truly memorable one.