Turning anger into passion for a purpose

At an assembly towards the end of last term, Communications Captain Stephanie Sekulovska spoke to Senior students about using their passion (anger) to effect change.

Stephanie Sekulovska presenting at Lions Youth of the Year District Final.

Anger. Defined as a strong feeling of being displeased, annoyed or upset. But what if it’s not. What if we look at anger from a different angle? What if being angry means you care enough about something to be impassioned to want to make a change.

The feeling of anger itself isn’t bad by any means. It’s where we go from there that makes a world of difference.

If being angry means you care, I want you to care. I want you to make an impact as individuals in our community for those things that you are passionate about. I want you to find your purpose.

As you’ll remember, Jacqui spoke about the need to empower women at assembly last week. For so long our complacency has been expected. But we can use our voices, minds and hearts to show compassion and reason when discussing important issues or going about our daily lives.

There was a specific moment, though, when I figured out the power I held.

I remember researching speech topics for Year 8 English. I wanted to do something a little different so I googled the news. The 14-year-old me was shocked to find there had been so much I was missing out on. I rushed home that day regurgitating every headline to my mum.

I was heartbroken that the gender pay gap still existed in most countries, that climate change was a very real issue that we were failing to address, that racism and discrimination were still prevalent, that millions of refugees were being displaced and neglected.

Suddenly, I had everything to be angry about. And yet, I was doing absolutely nothing about it. I had no plans to make actual change.

Mum said to me: “What makes you any different from those who preach hate. They’re all talk. Do something.”

‘Do something’

So I did. I tried becoming, for lack of a better word, “woke”. And it wasn’t easy to “walk the talk”, as Mrs Davis would say. Channeling my anger, all the cares that I gave, into passion and finally purpose was a challenge in itself.

At the beginning of Year 9 I attempted going vegan. I lasted 22 days, including the occasional chicken burger on my rest days. I then started walking to school to cut down my carbon footprint - that lasted a whole 2 days. I tried deleting Instagram to avoid negative influences, but was too much of a self-proclaimed foodie to go through with it.

I persisted in my search of finding a worthy cause. Eventually, I found it in community volunteering. I was angry at the small injustices that I saw and found a passion for helping others. I found purpose in giving back - a change from my everyday routine of going to school and coming home.

Now, a few weeks ago there was a little celebration that took place called the “Royal Wedding”. I mean, I’m not much of a royal follower, but if you guessed that I was sitting there bawling my eyes out instead of finishing my English assignment - you wouldn’t be wrong.

In between my research on sassy Prince George memes and “fears the wedding cake’s flowers could make guests ill”, I came across something Meghan Markle had done long before she became a Duchess.

At only 11 years old she channeled her anger into passion for a cause. After watching a commercial for dishwashing liquid which had the slogan “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans”, she wrote a letter to the company calling out their casual sexism and soon enough they changed it to “people all over America”. She had found her purpose in campaigning for equality. And has continued to do so.

What is your purpose?

I understand that some of us find it difficult to add to our already hectic schedules, but I encourage you all to find a way of channeling anger into things that you are passionate about. It may be putting your thoughts into songs or creating artworks or taking photos. What about doing your absolute best in your team sports on Saturdays? Or finding purpose through expressing your compassion at church and youth group. It may be as simple as helping someone in your family who needs your time and love - whether they’re experiencing illness or hardship.

It is so important to turn your emotion, your feelings, into what you’re passionate about. This is where your purpose stems from, and grows, be it at school, in uni, at tafe, in the workforce, in our community. This is what it takes to make real change, no matter how big or small.

In my effort to be relatable, I came across a surprisingly clever quote from a French diplomat, Hessel: “If you want to be a real human being - a real woman, a real man - you must stand up. I always say ... ‘Look around; look at what makes you unhappy, what makes you furious, and then engage yourself in some action.’”

So, what will you do to show you care?


Stephanie Sekulovska, Prefect and Communications Captain