All I want for Christmas…

It’s ‘Stir Up’ Sunday – the last Sunday before Advent, the name coming from the Collect of the Day prayer in the Anglican service – and was translated in popular culture to being when a family made a Christmas pudding…
At this point, even many British people might want a ‘translator’. (What’s a Collect?)
And what on earth has this to do with university admissions?

With the jingles now in every store, I see lots of “wish lists”. “Essentials” for the Festive Season. It sometimes seems like an awfully long list. And ‘All I want’ is either nebulous, or a long list, rather than any defined point or purpose.

We have so many different priorities in our lives. The I want confused with the I should, I ought. And when it comes to setting our own priorities in what we’re looking for, that list of priorities can become awfully muddled.

About a month ago I was chatting to a colleague who said to me “I wish I could just get on and just teach.” What does a school do other than teach? Well, there’s so much that a school does and with so many priorities, it’s hard to say what is most important. And what are we talking about when we say ‘teach’? The academic subject? The values? Wellness and mental health? Like skills and career awareness? Extra-curriculars? Guiding students to becoming adults?

In thinking of ‘All’, and since ‘Stir-up Sunday’ is about a pudding, think of this has in how far does this stretch? If you’re still eating Thanksgiving turkey, or thinking of ordering one for Christmas, just how big was it and how many people did it feed for one / two / more meals?

I want a college with a good name, one that will get me a good job, one where I’ll have lots of friends who share my interest. The ‘All’ list is growing as I write, even before I add in those pesky down-to-earth variables like cost, location, never mind anything as boring as whether or not it has anything that you want to actually ‘study’ there…

‘All I want for Christmas’ means considering what is most important. I can compromise on this if I can have that.

Now since I’m not quite ready to sing ‘Joy to the World’ just yet, could I ask you to consider what you do the day after Christmas? When the presents unwrapped and the turkey eaten? You know what unromantic bit of day-to-day living?

And if you’re thinking I’m rather like the Grinch who stole Christmas, all I want is for students, parents, schools to think about their priorities. If you’re a vegetarian, you’re not going to want turkey, even if you think you should, or ought to ‘fit in.’ What are you going to do with what you got, or didn’t for Christmas? Bah humbug!