I remember spending quite a bit of time in my later high school years thinking through what I might do when I finish Year 12. I could not make up my mind! I think the major thing that turned me off the idea of any one career was that I couldn’t see myself being a journalist, or a teacher, or a lawyer or a human resource manager or anything else for the rest of my life. It seemed so boring!
I have the type of temperament that enjoys change. Of course, for others, the mere mention of the word ‘change’ creates feelings of anxiety.
Leaving the security of home for an unknown place is certainly up there with the more stressful changes in life.
For the thirty-two students joining our community today, there will be those who simply cannot wait for this change in their lives and there will be a good number who will be battling feelings of nervousness, uncertainty and perhaps even fear. Probably for most, it will be something like nervous anticipation.
We can probably safely assume that the vast majority of our students are coming from homes where they’ve experienced love, support and care. When the ancient Israelites left Egypt, it was a very different situation. Leaving Egypt meant a move away from slavery, a sense of homelessness and disorientation.
I remember a time many years ago now when I was lost in the bush and wandering around trying desperately to find something recognisable. With each minute that passed, I grew increasingly anxious and wondered about all the potentially horrible things that might beset me! When I finally heard the voice of someone I knew, I was overcome by sheer adrenaline-fuelled excitement.
I can only imagine that such feelings of joy, relief and expectation must have been all the more overwhelming for the Israelites as they finally left Egypt. To leave Egypt was the hope of coming home.
Home is not necessarily a place to be thought of geographically, and certainly not as a fixed, physical dwelling. The sense of coming home should be about coming to a place where you feel loved and accepted – a place of belonging. Home should be a place where you are able to be yourself, to have others take an interest in the real you. Home is a place where you are supported and challenged. It is the place where you are able to recharge. It is a place where you are secure enough to be able to grow and to flourish.
We know that the Res is successful if, by-and-large, our returning students feel that they are returning home today. For those who are joining us – excited, nervous, fearful or all three and more! – we hope that, with time, this will become a place that you think of as home. We want to welcome you today, not simply to a new address, but into a new community and a new sense of home.