Truro School campus was bathed in winter sunshine on Saturday morning as we welcomed pupils from near and far who were coming to sit our Entrance Exams.
Of course it’s natural that there should be some nerves, both for those carrying the pencil cases and those who look after them. We do try to set things up so that the experience is not too pressurised. Early feedback is that the English comprehension was challenging and that time was a factor. I hope it proves to be a good discriminator. I enjoyed meeting families over coffee in the Sixth Form Café, while others opted for a touch of shopping in town.
On Friday evening I was preaching at a day and boarding prep school in Devon. My ‘sermon’ was inspired by a t-shirt my nine year old son was given for Christmas, which declares (above a suitable picture of a camper van and surfboard) “The Journey is the Destination”. Whilst it’s exactly the slogan that you would expect on a t-shirt, it also happens to be true. The record books show that, 20 years ago, Oxford University lost the Boat Race – in a winner takes all contest my crewmates and I had failed in our bid for victory. In fact, all the blood, sweat and tears, all the shared experiences, all the victories and defeats along the way, made for an amazing journey. I remember being gutted at losing the race, but far more important than the result was the journey that got me there and the great people I now count as friends with whom I shared the experience. The journey is the destination.
Last week I was away in Leicestershire on a training weekend for Headmasters and Headmistresses, and one of the speakers was an Emotional Health Consultant. Drawing on some of his ideas, my HM assembly this week touched on the topic of emotional health and wellbeing. A show of hands revealed that, while writing exams and going on a rollercoaster can both be stressful, the picture varies from one person to the next. Conclusion: what causes stress is not the situation itself, but how you perceive it. The speaker suggested that the quickest way to improve your emotional state and combat stress is to do something physical. He suggested that every day we should do something Creative, Relaxing, Active or Practical. An easy to remember acronym. There is plenty on the list of CRAP things to do (eg. sing, read, run, tidy your room). But beneath the attempt at some humour lies the important message that, as human beings, our emotional needs are as important as our physical needs if we are to have lives that work.
While our netball squad was in Bournemouth this weekend for the Regional Schools Finals, our 1st XV rugby team are gearing up to play Stowe School in the last 16 of the NatWest cup. If the weather holds we are due to play at home on Monday. Please come and support.