“The unexamined life is not worth living” said the Greek philosopher Socrates. Self-reflection is important. Knowing who you are and what you like doing is important.
Our broadcast assembly had this theme to start of the new term. All of our six terms have names by the way. This, the 5th term of the year, is actually called Perseverance – a great message for us all, especially those in our exam classes, reminding them to keep going for this final push. (Co-incidentally that’s the same name as the new robot on Mars. Here’s another interesting thing: the first powered flight on another planet was the Ingenuity helicopter that flew for the first time this month on the surface of Mars. Attached to it was a piece of fabric from the wing of the Wright brother’s plane at Kitty Hawk, the first powered flight on Earth, from 1903.)
So where were we? Yes, interesting people do interesting things – and it doesn’t matter what they are. Everyone should be interested in something, however obscure or common, obvious or abstract it may be. So I wanted to run a survey to find out what we as a school are in fact interested in.
What do I mean by interests? I described them as the activities you’d engage in if you didn’t have to do anything else. The activities you’d do if you could choose, what you’d do if you just had the time. Part of the purpose of being at school is to do your best so that you can have more options, more choices about the future.
Sooner or later this will all become vital for our students when they turn up for collage or job interviews. To get an interview means you’ve met the minimum requirements. From that point on it’s not about your qualifications or grades – everyone asked to interview has already proved that they’ve got those. Now they’ll have to prove who they really are: their personality, their perseverance, their ingenuity. Having hobbies and interests does just that – it lifts you up from the average.
I also asked all the teachers to do it too. Role models are important.
But it’s not about being obscure or unique. It’s just about doing whatever it is to a level of detail, of expertise. So I didn’t want people to just say “football” or “the internet” and think they were done. I created a form that asked for more specifics, to be particular. I’ve attached my own examples so you can see what I meant. It should be that what they put in the last column is pretty obscure to a lay audience, as mine are.
I’m compiling the results now and I’ll let you know later what the findings are. We’re hoping to use any data from the survey to help inform forthcoming ideas for clubs and societies too.
Ayd Instone, Head of Enrichment and Extra-Curricular