Editorial: Digging Deeper

The Pace of Life Committee’s report that Phillips Academy students have an average of 40 more minutes of homework than do students at its peer schools hardly comes as a surprise. Although the Committee has attempted to reduce students’ levels of stress by recommending a stricter reinforcement of study hours, an elimination of Internet use between 12: 30 a.m. and 5 a.m. and the abolishment of all scheduled activities after 8 p.m. on weeknights, such moves begin to scratch only the surface of the community’s pace of life problem. In addition, the steps that the administration has recently implemented to alleviate students’ pace of life and spread out homework, so as to look like a progressive-thinking school, represent superficialities. The school must start to address the core issues that lie within the woodwork of this esteemed institution to lessen the pace of life problem. Instead of looking at the school’s chaotic pace of life as a long-term issue that can be fixed in a short amount of time, the administration and Board of Trustees must closely examine the school’s nature and philosophy to begin to rectify this deep-rooted problem. Instructor in History Kathy Dalton said that the Academy’s heavy workload stems from the school’s roots as a Puritan theological seminary. The Puritans viewed idle time as an instrument of the devil and prized work ethic above all else. Simply put, Andover’s pace of life problem cannot be pinned simply on Saturday classes or on the fact that we have 40 more minutes of homework each week than Phillips Exeter does. Our pace of life crisis lies so deep within the framework of our school that it cannot be fixed without uprooting the very essence of what holds Andover together. We live in a community in which people pride themselves on their ability to resist the urge to sleep and to continue working until dawn. With increasing competition for students to gain acceptance to prestigious colleges, Andover’s motivated students look to take as many challenging classes as they can, many of which demand hours upon hours of work each night. It is a sad day when we sacrifice our health and our love of learning to see a “6” on our transcript. The PoL Committee and the administration are perpetuating the mentality that the issue at hand is superficial and can be solved with the establishment of tighter regulations. However, such is not the case. As of now, the school is trying to pull out the root of the problem without digging first. The weekly editorials represent the opinion of The Phillipian editorial board.