Educating Girls

16 March 2020

Recalibrating expectations

Recalibrating expectations

Two years ago unprecedented weather conditions on the Barwon River battered the final day of the Head of the Schoolgirls' Rowing Regatta and shattered the hopes and dreams of so many. It was a moment lost, a time when girls ready to give their best lost the opportunity they had worked so hard for, they have been left contemplating what could have been.
Unprecedented. This word already seems to summarise the world in 2020, and we are only three months in. From massive bushfires, to alarming air quality, and to the coronavirus pandemic.

Disappointment. Along with our girls we are experiencing the disappointment of cancelled concerts, performances, sporting competitions, debates, tours, training sessions and rehearsals … the list goes on, cancelled dreams. As we introduce social distancing, the many ways in which our girls engage with each other and follow their passions are disappearing for the moment.

In speaking about the best tools for navigating disappointments, Brené Brown reminds us of the powerful relationship between expectation and disappointment – that disappointment is often expectation not realised. We feel disappointment because we set clear expectations, and maybe even make ourselves vulnerable and let others know our excitement, dreams and goals. Then it doesn’t happen. Disappointment sets in, and if we are not careful, a whole lot of overanalysing, blaming and loss of perspective.
This is happening on so many levels currently in our world – for students and for adults. We need to remind ourselves and our girls that the boldest among us will be disappointed as we have no control over the outcome. But what makes us brave is being willing to live through the potential disappointment of not achieving our ambition, for whatever reason. Vulnerability creeps up on us in so many different disguises. That is exactly where we find ourselves now – up to our necks in disappointment, but thankful for our health and recalibrating our expectations.
Last year Katelyn Ohashi, American gymnast and inspiration to many, was an internet sensation. Her floor routine lit up social media, and her attitude reminds us of the importance of doing what we love. This week Ohashi posted her last performance from last year with the thoughtful reflection, 'I can’t imagine what it would be like to have my career end without this final moment, so my heart goes out to all the Seniors who didn’t get to end on their own knowing terms. We really are living through an epidemic.'
Ohashi reminds us that there is so much more than the need to recalibrate our expectations for 2020 as we all try our best to navigate this crazy world. We all need to acknowledge endeavour, and to show kindness to each other and to ourselves.

Linda Douglas

Ruyton Girls' School
March 2020