Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Remember, you are on the Final Straight

As you must know by now, I have been a fan of Leeds United, my beloved club, for the last 42 years and as the football season draws to a close, many things have yet to be decided:

  • As we are unlikely to be relegated or promoted, at what position will we finish in the Championship?
  • What are the plans for the club so that we can continue to improve?
  • Which players will leave for 'bigger' clubs, which players will be encouraged to move to other clubs or indeed, like all supporters, which players will we sign to improve our squad?  How will we continue to develop some of our talented youngsters and existing players?
  • Will those who lead the club still be in position for next season?
  • How much money will be available to develop our club and what ideas are there to build on the success (of the second half for Leeds) of the season?
  • How can steps be taken to ensure that Leeds United can get into the Premier League (like Hull City) where we 'rightfully' belong (given the size of our fan base and level of support)?

These are all fundamental questions and ones that all schools and colleges have to consider at this time during the academic year.

On Sunday, on the drive to Beverley, I listened to a song called "Night Moves" by Bob Seger.  It got me thinking about how plans are constantly being made and revised for even greater success for our College community.  Indeed, what is achieved in the remaining weeks can be crucial.  Leeds United can finish in the top 8 in the Championship, (no mean feat given that we were in the relegation zone in January), Hull City can survive in the Premiership, and you can get an even better grade in your examinations if you are focused, committed and listen to the advice that is offered to you. 

You have to enjoy what you do, work as hard as you have ever worked, make the necessary short-term sacrifices and, as Bob Marley sang,

"Don't stop believin’
And hold onto the feelin’".

Races are won and lost in the final stretch and what you do in the remaining weeks, during the Easter holidays, the 4 weeks upon your return and in the evenings, can make all the difference: whether you get into the University of your choice, the course that you wish to pursue, the job that you would like to get, can be determined at this stage.

The Dire Straits' song, "Love over Gold" is poignant:

"It takes love over gold
And mind over matter
To do what you do that you must
When the things that you hold
Can fall and be shattered
Or run through your fingers like dust."

Don't look for others to 'save' you.  Take control of your life because it can make all the difference in terms of your future, your career and your life chances.  Be brave, have fun and be prepared to laugh at yourself.  There is a Chinese saying:

"In the stream where you least expect it
You will find fish."

It is a little too early to reflect on the academic year but already there have been so many outstanding successes:

  • Offers from the 'top' universities and on the most prestigious courses;
  • Employment offers with brilliant sponsorship and development opportunities;
  • Outstanding success in sports, dance, drama, music and the arts;
  • Academic success in national competitions in chemistry, biology, physics, maths and engineering;
  • Poetry publications;
  • Outstanding performances at a national level;
  • The large amounts raised for local and national charities;
  • Visits, work experience and expeditions to 'far-flung corners' of our planet.

Throughout all of this, I continue to receive 'glowing' reports about our wonderful students and the exemplary way in which members of our College community conduct themselves.  You are a credit to our College and it makes me feel very proud and honoured.

Remember, you are on the final straight….

Have an enjoyable and productive Easter.