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Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
university course and no one has ever
asked me about my HSC results.”
Of course, it is wise to make good use
of school education. Students seeking to
achieve their full potential deser ve high
praise. However, the achieving of one’s full
potential is a life-long p rocess which can’t
be fully realised at the close of Year 12.
Full potential is a relative term, and can
seem at times to be a rather vague
notion about hopes and dreams for
living a meaningful life here on planet
Earth. The plethora of self-help literature
that abounded in the 1980s and beyond
provided its own specialised language. All
of a sudden reaching for one’s higher self
was a ‘mus t do’ self improvement s trategy.
Self-actualisation was within the reach of
ordinary people like me, and perhaps you,
dear reader. ‘M indfulness’ was a serious
dinner party conversation piece. Being in
touch with one’s inner child was a sure-fire
way of regaining a sense of innocence and,
dare I say, playfulness ! Visiting a playground,
running carefree in a park , climbing a tree,
eating ice-cream at whim became de rigueur
for those in pursuit of a meaningful life.
Self-affirmation mantras became popular as
well, statements such as:
I love and accept myself
I approve of myself and feel
great about myself.
I am a unique and a very special
person and worthy of respect
I am solution-minded. Any problem
that comes up in life is solvable.
I am never alone.
My mind is full of gratitude for my
lovely and wonder ful life.
The universe supports me and is with
me at every step.
The idea of working to reinforce a positive
self-image certainly has merit and can play
a vital role in the maintenance of self-worth
or self-esteem as one travels along the road
to self-fulfilment .
But wait a minute, can I always accept
myself unco nditionally? Will I always feel
good about myself? I am unique, special
and worthy, but how do I approach earning
respect from others? Yes, it’s good to
approach problem -solving in a positive
manner but what strategies might I employ
to deal with disappointment? Aloneness
and loneliness are challenges that face
individuals from time to time. Gratefulness
is a beautiful quality even when life is not
so lovely or can appear less wonderful. I’ll
leave the notion of a supportive universe
for others to ponder.
Perhaps the real challenge facing the
graduating students of 2014 might be how
to build and develop a spirit of resilience
as they chase the dream of self-fulfilment?
The ability to adapt to stress and life’s
tr ibulations seems intimately connected
to the notion of self-fulfilment. A positive
attitude and a sense of optimism are vital in
all of this.
By the time these few thoughts appear,
the HSC season will be drawing to a close
and yes, we’ll be doing it all again next
year. 2015 is on its way, bringing with it
fresh possibilities and oppor tunities. As we
make our resolutions for the year ahead,
perhaps ‘a sense of curiosity’ might head
our list. A quick glance at a dictionary found
the following: ‘Curiosity: a strong desire to
know or learn something’. Curiosity might
well be a life goal for the class of 2015.
Aha – self-fulfilment !
As I put cursor to screen, the Higher
School Cer tificate season is well under way.
Students across the state will put to the
test, so to speak, many years of hard work
Parents, teachers, relatives and friends
will offer students their support, prayers
and encouragement. The use of the word
‘stress’ will increase over sundry HSC-
related conversations arou nd many dinner
tables. Students will stress, parents will
stress about their children stressing and so
it will go on, until that magic minute, when
the SMS messages arrive carrying the
Twenty-four hours later, the conversation
will have moved on to more important
matters such as holidays and
Many years ago a student of mine was
suffering from what I now consider to be
Higher School Cer tificate Stress Disorder
(HSCSD). He spoke frequently about
his concerns. My offering was, “Over the
coming years very few people will be
interested in your HSC results.”
He later wrote to me saying, “Just to
let you know, I’m three years into my
HAVE YOU SUFFERED
Look for Aurora Magazine
to share your thoughts
Diocesan students have excelled in a
prestigious debating competition rece ntly.
The Year 8 debater s of St Clare’s High
School, Taree, defeated St Mar y ’s
Cathedral School, Sydney, in the NSW
Catholic Schools Debating Association
State Finals, convincing the judges that
“ Sport stars make positive role models.”
Team member s were Finn Fagerstrom,
Ben de Berg and Luke Strong. In 2013 this
team was named state champion.
A team from St Pius X High School,
Adamstown , won the Year 7 division .
Olga Scorer, Jasmine Brow n and Summer
Harrison defeated St Ignatius’ College,
River view. The girls debated (in the
negative) the same topic as above.
LOCAL DEBATERS ARE
BY CARMEL TAPLEY
(l-r) Ben de Berg, Finn Fagerstrom, Luke Strong.
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