Principal's Blog - 11 October 2018

09 Oct 2018

Dear members of the Marcellin College Family,

I don’t know about you but when I look at my calendar for the remainder of the year I break out into a bit of a cold sweat! No matter how well we seem to plan and strategize there seems to be no escape from the frantic rush which seems to characterise this time of the year.

There are literally thousands of self-help guides and other resources on the net which guarantee to help us to be more organised. Pinterest alone displays 246 different organisational planners, lists, quotes, books and other resources which would, if you believe the sales pitch will – change your life and achieve stress free success! There are many common themes which flow through these organisational resources…

  • Write a to do list.
  • Break big tasks into smaller chunks.
  • Remove yourself from distraction.
  • Set priorities.
  • Create a planner.
  • Goal setting exercises.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat well and hydrate.
  • Partake in regular exercise & relaxation.
  • Positive psychology – always see the positive in situations.
  • Practice mindfulness, which is really another way to pray.
  • Manage social media.
  • Mentors – Students learn from teachers, not subjects. Respect your teachers.

Many of these tips and resources can be useful but to my way of thinking none of them are sustainable in the long term without two important ingredients – self-discipline and being open to the support of others.

Self-discipline is about choice. We can either choose to do things as we have always done or we can break with our old habits. I find that making improvements to my organisation assists in developing my self-discipline and vise-versa. Like all the other habits, the habit of organization can be slowly built up over time. It requires some effort and attention but it will pay off enormously in the long run. One way I have found to develop my organisational capacity is to improve the physical space around me. When the physical space around me is organized, my mind becomes more relaxed, stress free, and more able to focus.

The second ingredient is even more important than the first. I need people around me to support me in being more organised and disciplined. I am fortunate to have a number of critical friends who I draw on for support and who keep me honest and on the right path. When we admit to ourselves that we can’t do all this alone, we open ourselves to the support that is all around us.

I say this especially at this time of the year to the young men of our College, particularly our Year 12 students. I have always said that our most successful students, the ones who have realised their full potential, are those who have drawn on the support of all those around them.

As parents we have an important role to play in supporting our children, particularly at this time. Don’t be afraid to reach out and proactively engage with your sons even if they push back a little.

So to all our parents and our students I offer these couple of pieces of gratuitous advice as we enter this critical moment in the academic year

Parents - try to avoid nagging about study but offer consistent support and encouragement. Don’t be busy around exam time as they will need you more. Make short visits to their study space with food and water and positive encouragement.

Students - include you parents in the process eg. Let them know when work is due or when examinations are coming up and get them to help you revise. Continue to constantly draw on the support of your teachers. Remember that they will do everything they can to help you achieve your goals.

All the very best to you all for this exciting term ahead.

Mark Murphy