To the Editor:
So often we are consumed by our routine here at Andover. It is monotonous; it is grueling. Yet, we continue grinding through, week in and week out.
Perhaps, the repetition of this routine is one of the few comforts for an Andover student, as we are immersed in a sea of academic rigor, extracurricular commitments, and social stresses.
We are all desperate for success here and many would tell you that embracing “the routine” is the best way to find it. But in allowing ourselves to be consumed by our own routines, we often trick ourselves into believing that Andover is the only thing that exists.
People like to use the phrase the “Andover Bubble” in passing to describe this tendency to become consumed by our lives at this school. And, honestly, there’s a lot of truth in it.
Each day, we are consumed by all that goes on here, and we often forget that a world exists outside of Andover. Within the “Bubble,” there exists a widespread culture of competition – one that negatively affects nearly everyone. As a result, our community is often plagued by competitiveness, hierarchy, pressure, judgement, and cold-heartedness.
These aspects of our culture – specifically the need for students to attain success – can lead to a variety of problems. Some students berate struggling individuals about their lack of achievement in certain realms, and others act condescendingly towards their peers in dorms and on the paths.
Because of all this, it can be tortuous to be here without any means of escape for a long time: We live under strict regulations, and repeating our arduous routines can wear on all of us. The failure to achieve this status of success seemingly required of every student within the “Andover Bubble” can also weigh on certain individuals, and send them into spirals of self-doubt.
We are in the most stressful time of our young lives, with college decisions looming for Seniors and the community in general being consumed by everything that Andover has both blessed and cursed us with. Amidst all of that, it is important to remember that success and failure are relative, and too often here we hold ourselves to the loftiest of standards.
Appreciate those around you, and recognize that they, too, are submitted to the same rigors which we all struggle to manage. Rely on your friends, your teammates, your teachers and unite through your collective recognition of the pressures and competition to which we are all subjected.
Most of all, break free from the “Bubble” – not necessarily by leaving campus grounds, but by using these individuals as vehicles to escape the pressures of it. Take a breath of fresh air every once and awhile – perhaps the most crucial aspect of survival in the Andover world is recognizing there’s one outside it.
Take it easy,
Howard Johnson ’17