The word Domum doesn’t just signify a location, home, but it also implies a movement towards home. Indeed, the song Domum is about a longing to be away from here and to be at home.
We all have our own unique relationships with home – thank goodness for that - but what we generally share is a sense of personal history: home is where we come from, and, at this moment in time, where we are headed. But of course we are not just thinking about home at this moment in time. We are also thinking about the rest of our lives, and how we might spend them. What will university be like? Who will we meet? Where will we live? What impact will our lives have? What will be our legacy?
At this juncture of our lives, it is tempting to be impatient to make our mark. Make the most of the life you have ahead of you. But consider the nature of that achievement. Our future does not have to consist of heroic gestures or historic acts. If it does, all well and good. But as St Paul puts it well: “Let your moderation be known unto all men… whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
I like to think that Wykeham would have wanted his Wykehamists to leave this place equipped for something which transcends personal ambition. Speaking for myself, I leave here enormously indebted to all I have learned, and even more the people I have learnt from, including you. And if I may I will presume to give you two pieces of advice.
First, a curiosity about other people will never permit you to make assumptions about them. So don’t abandon your curiosity about other people and about new experiences – don’t be too busy, preoccupied by school life or simply too defensive so that you close down. You will miss out terribly if you do.
Secondly, you have had here a unique opportunity here to be yourselves. This is a place which wants us all to be comfortable in our own skin. I hope very much that this has been your experience of the school. And that may – may – entail risk. A few may take advantage of your openness when you go out into a world which is less forgiving and in which people may be less open. But the gains of being unapologetically yourself far outweigh that risk. You can be sure of being valued for who you really are, rather than the person you think others want you to be. And last but not least, don’t be afraid to acknowledge vulnerability to those you trust – and cultivate a reciprocal trust with that in mind.
Domum, home, then, is not really a fixed place at all. It is a movement towards becoming what we really are, and learning to trust that inner compass. And that identity is bound up not with the isolation of a misplaced ego or individuality, but in a shared human experience. Use your interactions with each other well: be receptive, and keep an open mind.
7th May 2021
In this year's Wykeham Journal, Professor Paul Elkington MBE (Old Wykehamist) highlights how his work on researching and treating patients with tuberculosis led to the creation of an entirely new type of respirator hood, which is now standard issue at Southampton Hospital and 16 other NHS trusts. Instead of patenting their design, Paul's team put it out on the internet for anyone to copy.
27th November 2022
Young entrepreneurs gathered at Winchester College on 26 November to pitch their ideas to end waste in schools. The Ignite competition, part of the College's Makyth Ventures programme, brought teams from across the country.
24th November 2022
Proper preparation for the MMI, used by the majority of UK medical schools, is critical to pupils hoping to study medicine at university. Winchester runs practice interview sessions, which are crafted to emulate the real experience, for its own pupils and students from schools across Hampshire.
10th November 2022
Ross Brawn OBE inspired his audience with insights into all aspects of motor racing and his hugely successful career in Formula One.
8th November 2022
In line of COP27 and concerns about the need for more concerted action, pupils have organised a whole-school Climate Week with a range of talks, events and activities.
6th November 2022
Dev Sharma, Youth MP for Hampshire, and Winchester College Sixth Form pupil appeared at the Despatch Box on Friday 4 November to make the case for action to tackle climate change.