Commentary

Don’t Hop the Line

Determined to watch Grasshopper Night in my final year at Andover, I arrived at George Washington Hall on Monday an hour before ticket sales began. I waited patiently in the middle of the line, expecting to be one of the first people to get tickets.

When the box office finally opened, however, not only had the line behind me grown, but the line in front of me had lengthened as well. The ticket line curled from the box office to the back of the Steinbach Lobby and then looped back to the start of the line. People who came in the last five minutes conveniently stood beside those first to get tickets.

Then, the box office opened and without warning the front and back of the line merged. It wasn’t just that people had cut the line. Crowds of newcomers immediately rushed the box office window without any consideration for the students who had been waiting for hours. Suddenly those of us that had arrived early were standing at the very back of the mob. I was outraged.

We were shoved back by latecomers and unable to push through the crowd. We yelled and screamed in protest, but those who had cut the line simply pretended not to hear us, ignoring the blatant injustice.

I had naively assumed that the people who came later would be honest and wait their turn, recognizing that there were students who came well before and deserved tickets. I saw my classmates – people that I respected and admired, Proctors, Prefects, Community Engagement members, peer tutors and more –cut in front of me. It seemed as though all of the Andover students in the mob had agreed to benefit themselves at the cost of others.

I am disappointed and shocked that my Andover peers could so easily disregard the school motto of Non Sibi and only look out for themselves. Compassion and regard for the feelings of others cannot be things we merely mention on our college applications and something we easily forgo in real life when nobody’s watching. Whether in the stir-fry line or waiting to meet with a teacher at conference, no situation is too mundane to practice Non Sibi. We must not speak so lucidly about racial issues and socio-economic injustice and then ignore small issues of courtesy and respect in our day-to-day lives.

Yes, the school should definitely offer a better and more organized system of ticket distribution, but frankly I was more frustrated with the actions of the my fellow students than my actual lack of tickets. We need to be responsible and thoughtful in our own actions because ultimately Non Sibi is not just an Andover thing, but a lifelong philosophy. Frankly, bystanders in the Grasshopper line had little to lose by standing up — but still chose not to. If students cannot be selfless in these small situations, then I have little hope for them after graduation, when acting Non Sibi is harder and there is more at stake.

Oct 22, 2015