News Blues

Andover students have the tendency to lead double lives. One of these two lives is filled with the latest gossip, sports scores, and reruns of “Friends.” The other life that PA students lead is packed with AP courses, varsity athletics, and extensive extracurricular activities. When homework and the desire for a real social life is piled on top of everything else, the final product is your typical Phillips Academy student, a teenager with too many things to do in a small amount of time. PA students must be able to deal with all of these activities in order to stay afloat. In order to survive here, students like myself must use the most tried-and-true method to get as much as possible done in the shortest amount of time: prioritizing. When I say prioritize, I am not talking about making up complicated lists and schedules in order to account for every spare minute of your day so that you can beat yourself up later in the evening when you’re five-and-a-half seconds late to the dorm meeting. What I do mean is that students have to be able to decide what needs to be done now and what can be put off indefinitely (or at least until that free period tomorrow afternoon). However, there is a major and unfortunate side effect of this strategy. Too often, an important task must be pushed aside in favor of the newest batch of chemistry problems, and especially on this campus, the task that is ignored the most is involvement in the outside world, whether this includes reading the Wall Street Journal or watching CNN. I don’t know about you, but when I have a gigantic history paper to write (or that horrible set of math problems to deal with), checking the latest headlines is not exactly on my top-ten list of things to do. However, because of the strategy of prioritization, more and more students are becoming less and less informed when it comes to regional, national, and global issues. True, this is a very up-to-date campuses. Many students have a powerful understanding of the world around them, but at the same time, they ignore an astonishing number of topics simply because it is too easy to turn up the iPod and keep on studying. As members of this world, and more importantly, of the PA Community, we have a duty to be aware of life outside of the Andover Bubble, and to be able to see farther into the future than the season finale of a favorite TV show. I’ll be the first to admit that I find it easier to sit back, relax, and let someone else do the driving for me, but I also am old enough to assume responsibility for both the privileges and the hardships of the place and time that I live in. If we want the next generation to be able to have the same carefree moments full of facebook games and Halloween dances, then we need to be informed enough to let our leaders know what we think. There are so many opportunities to become involved, even when budgeting your time. Internet news sites, online search engines, daily newspapers, and on-campus activities like this past week’s discussion about Hurricane Katrina are all options when looking for a place to learn more about your surroundings. You can ask friends about what’s going on in the news. Talk to you history teacher about current events and how they relate to the past. By understanding the world around us, we are doing a service to our world, and more importantly, to ourselves. So go ahead: listen to the latest tidbit about that campus couple.But don’t forget to check back in with the real world every once in a while.