Dear class of 2010,
Firstly, congratulations to every one of you who wrote the school-leaving exams in 2010. You have made it, purely from having sat for the exams. You have gotten through twelve years of pure slog and that’s nothing to be scoffed at. It is important that you take a moment to recognise the magnitude of your achievement.
By now you know how you performed in the exams. Some of you excelled with multiple distinctions and others of you did not pass. Some of you just squeaked through and others only just missed making the passing mark. Examinations do serve a purpose but they are not the be all and they certainly are not the end all. I hope at this point that you have come to realise that more important than the answers that determined whether you passed or failed is having applied your mind to the questions asked. This is after all one of the more important reasons why you were put through the gruelling exercise in the first place, and it presents a lesson that will contribute more to your life’s path than a certificate or a specific mark. The courage to take on questions that may at times seem too hard to answer is a quality found in some of the most admired, successful and inspirational figures of our time.
You may have also heard some of your peers described as one of “the exceptional few”. Or maybe you have been described as one of the very few exceptional students who have excelled, personal circumstance notwithstanding. I call on you to reject this notion, not because you are not exceptional but because every one of you is exceptional, not just a select few. And that’s not simply a useless feel-good affirmation either. It is fact. You are all uniquely exceptional. Each of you have qualities that make you unlike anybody else out there. This is a valuable thing to understand about yourself because if you do, once you do, you are well on your way to achieving excellence.
Now you go out into the world and I kid you not when I tell you that the level of effort you put into whatever you will be doing in 2011 and beyond will be matched by an equivalent (and at times exponential) level of reward – sometimes it may be immediate and others times it may be slow to come but rest assured, it will come. Your eagerness to try will be met by a willingness to let you try. Your living passionately will inspire passion in others. And the great thing is that you have the freedom to trust me on these things I am telling you or you can go out and discover them for yourself.
I have heaps more advice but I know that you’re champing at the bit to get your post-school year started, and I also know that there are many things you are best positioned to discover for yourself, all I ask is that you continue to try.
All the very best,
Member of class of ’97