Over the past few weeks and across our most recent break, I spent a lot of time reading about the effect of home learning and our current world situation on our students’ mental health – with a view to ensuring our students are coping and managing and adapting to our new situation. Some of the articles I read articulated that living in the present can be a present in itself, but during a global pandemic, when the world is in crisis, reflecting only on the 'now' may lead to frustration because much of the current situation is outside our control.
Solutions were varied, but one that fits with our focus on mindset is if we consider adopting a journey metaphor for getting through COVID-19.
Success is not a box to be ticked on our bucket list and forgotten thereafter, rather, we can consider it a journey. This alternative notion forces us to reflect on the steps that brought us achievement or failure in the past, and to then apply those lessons in the future.
As we think about navigating COVID-19 and its impact, a focus solely on the destination may result in frustration, because if a problem is not solved right away and we fail at reaching our destination, all may seem to be lost. It's really easy to think that way in 2020 when everything seems to be going south and the only thing we're holding out for is a vaccine. Despite everything happening in the world, we might be able to cope with it better if we change our mindset slightly and stop looking for a solution.
The journey mindset is about acknowledging our past meaningful successes and failures and continuing that trend to our present moment and into the future, and the consequent understanding that success does not exist in isolation – it is often bounded by failure that propels us forward.
So how do we achieve a journey mindset? During this pandemic, many of us are connecting more with friends and family, reacquainting ourselves with hobbies, and finding more creative ways to work… even from home. Being grateful, meditating, keeping a gratitude journal, writing down goals and feelings can help refocus on our journey through, rather than solution to. Success, after all, is not all about goals; it's also about growing, learning and changing… It’s about our journey.
This week I had the good fortune to visit our Prep students as they reached a significant milestone in their schooling journey – reaching 100 days of Prep. Our Prep students collectively celebrated their journey; their wins, their growth (I got taller, I can ride a bike and I can make my bed) and so importantly, the learning they are still looking forward to achieving (tying their shoelaces and losing their front teeth). At the other end of the College, Senior School students have parent teacher interviews – an important pause in their educational journey – a time for reflection, but also goal setting.
Instead of trying to look for happiness in the final solution, we need to focus more on finding meaning in the entirety of the journey we travel.
Principal/Head of College