Get a (Pace of) Life

Two years have passed since our school began to look more closely into its alleged pace of life problem. During that time, I believe that our school’s pace of life hasn’t changed. Our investigation into our pace of life is moving slowly, like Rush Limbaugh running a mile. The slow pace of the Pace of Life discussion has given me time to find trivial things to complain about. For instance, the three factors that have had the most deleterious impact on my pace of life are: – People who block doorways. – The interminable construction work taking place outside Commons, which makes me 15 seconds tardier to my post-breakfast second-period class than I would be otherwise. The construction workers have been building stairs and a ramp to Commons since September. – Pace of life surveys. In recent weeks, we students have filled out two surveys on the school’s much-discussed pace of life problem. Those surveys take some time to complete. Further, we have yet to consider the impact of the surveys on the pace of life problem. I’ve just listed three things that constitute minor annoyances at worst. In other words, I personally do not have much of a pace of life problem. Given that we’re examining our school’s pace of life, however, I do concede that some people might have actual pace of life difficulties. For this reason I’ve written my own two-question survey on the pace of life. You can find my interpretations of your answers at the bottom of this column. 1.Where is the best place to have a long conversation with your friends? a. In a narrow ramp, staircase, or doorway, e.g. the doorway to Commons’ “Lower Right” dining hall. b. Somewhere else 2.How’s the workload? a. manageable b. unbearable Answers: Anyone who answered either question does not have a pace of life problem. In fact, anyone who answered either question has altogether too much free time. Anyone who answered (a.) to question 1, however, is part of a problem – at least as long as leaving the Ryley Room feels like crawling through one of Dick Cheney’s arteries. On a more serious note, some Seniors joked that they completed their pace of life surveys with suggestions that the school require a certain number of hours of study hall, require ninth-graders to be in their dorm rooms with the doors open from 8 to 10 p.m. each night, and generally enforce stricter policies on all Andover students, policies which treat us as children rather than as responsible young adults. The Seniors claimed that they filled out their surveys this way on the grounds that they’ll be graduating before any of the changes they proposed take effect. As yet, Seniors still care about the Andover classes below us, and won’t act against what most of us believe are Andover students’ interests through advocating greater restrictions on the students. Further, the faculty and administration have an accurate understanding, I believe, of the students’ views on proposed further restrictions on students’ time and activities. Once Seniors get accepted by colleges, however, more of us might act with less responsibility toward the three classes below us. I believe that the Senior class expressed its honest opinion on the pace of life through the survey. Nonetheless, it makes little sense that Seniors are allowed to vote for student government positions for the next year, for instance. Certainly we know the school better than the younger students do, but, unlike the younger students, when we elect the next year’s student leaders, we are not choosing the students who will publicly represent us. Why should we be able this spring to choose a school president who won’t preside over us?