The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

"Why am I doing this?" is a question we often ask ourselves.

Prior to the recent Rottnest Channel Swim, many participants would have been asking themselves this very question. They would have been apprehensive, monitoring the weather closely and hoping for flat conditions, an easterly breeze, and tides and currents that help, not hinder.

Some tackled the challenge of crossing as a team of four, others a duo and some as a soloist.

"Why am I doing this?"

Like people who climb mountains, explore far off places, or maybe learn a new language. Many do it for the sense of achievement. It is in our human spirit.

However, there is more to it than that. The sense of achievement is an undeniable factor but, for some, indeed many, this is outshone by the sense of belonging, of connectedness.

We all like being part of something, forming connections and relationships and sharing our experiences with others; sharing the sense of achievement.

Those Rottnest swimmers were after the same thing. Whether competing as a team of four, a duo or a soloist – they were all part of a team. They had a skipper, a paddler, a timer and a support crew. They were not on the journey alone - rather it was a shared experience for them all. The sense of achievement at the end was shared by the group and strengthened those bonds, that connectedness.

Our Year 9 boys have just returned from the Transition Camp at Rottnest. They shared some wonderful experiences together, had a great time, attempted new activities, and learnt more about themselves both individually and as a group. The connectedness from their shared experience is important for them as they transition into Senior School.

On Saturday morning, a group of 15 boarders and staff walked into Albany, having completed the 1000km adventure of the Bibbulmun Track, a trek that presented challenges and hardship, but also great joy, laughter and a feeling of accomplishment. More than anything, the group enjoyed a shared bond, an experience they will look back on fondly for many, many years to come.

The group is linked by that shared experience and along the entire 1000 kilometres they were not only representing themselves, but also the College. They donned their Scotch shirts for the final part of the walk and entered as a group, with a piper by their side, not unlike our Friday marching.

Next week our swim team will compete at the PSA Inter-School Carnival. They will be chasing that sense of achievement, whether it be through winning races, swimming personal bests or competing at a level they are proud of, as part of a team. Everyone has a role to play and that is to give their best, support their teammates and challenge each other. It is part of belonging to the group.

Whether it is walking that final stretch into Albany, undertaking activities on the Transition Camp at Rottnest, or standing on the blocks at the Inter-School Carnival next week, we are all part of something bigger than ourselves; we are part of a team and it is that connectedness and shared experience that we will reflect on in the years ahead. While it is important to make the most of those opportunities, the deeper meaning comes from sharing the ups-and-downs, the funny moments, the triumphs or even the stuff ups that we all have eventually. It is these shared experiences that bring us closer together.