It’s that time of the year again: that certain, peculiar week when Lowers and Uppers just seem a little off. They might be wandering around the library searching for signatures or obsessively practicing their chants to perform before a crowd in Lower Right. They are crafting their political platforms, their applications, their audition dances. Yes, the time has come for the dreaded “Leadership Week,” when applications for school-wide positions such as Cluster Council, Blue Key Heads, and EP Seniors are released.
With all of these positions up for grabs in one week, tensions are understandably running high. For many, this week serves as the culmination of their Andover careers, their chance to finally assume the leadership role they’ve been aspiring towards since Junior year. But when so much is built up around a dream of becoming a prefect in Nathan Hale or Rockwell, students run the risk of cracking under the pressure.
To make matters more complicated, many positions are more or less exclusive, and students have to make tough decisions as to which they pursue. For example, an Upper who runs for Cluster Co-President cannot be a Blue Key Head as well; if their run for office fails, they might have already lost their chance at donning a blue skirt. This process is a lesson in prioritization, of deciding which role is most important to you and taking a leap of faith.
For some Andover students, this week of important applications might be their first taste of disappointment, of the hard choices that they will have to make when they leave the comfortable bubble of high school and college. There is not always room in the equation for a backup plan, and sometimes even when you commit fully to chase a position you desire, you face rejection.
There have been countless opinion pieces and Facebook posts condemning the all-too-common practice of placing the entirety of one’s self-worth on an arbitrary number of accrued leadership positions. We all know it is not healthy, and we all know it is not an accurate gauge of intelligence, involvement, or character. Still, we fanatically edit our applications, scour Upper Right for just one more signature, hoping and praying and pleading that our work is not in vain.
But the reality is that not being selected as a Proctor or Day Student Representative does not equate to a wasted Andover career. School-wide positions are not the be-all, end-all. This week does not have life-altering abilities. Pursue the positions you are truly dedicated to and work to leave your fear of failure behind.
This editorial represents the views of The Phillipian, vol. CXL.