Free to Do What I Please

Doo-doo. We all know the sound; it’s the “you’ve got mail” of Andover. Inevitably your mouse shifts across the screen, pulling up an inbox and boxing down the latest homework problem in one smooth motion. P.A. students may be experts when it comes to AP Exams, but we also seem to have a knack for something else: namely, procrastination. I, for one, happen to be one of the ablest multi-taskers I know. Not many people can converse on the phone, peruse the web, and simultaneously study for a French exam, but trust me, it’s possible. The only problem I’ve discovered lately is the ability of my homework to prolong itself for countless extra hours while I’m checking out the latest additions to Okay, so most of the time I’m not nearly that careless with my time. Yet it seems that what was once an acceptable “study break” almost always morphs into late night dates with a history textbook, and trust me, I’d rather be catching up on my sleep. But where exactly is that line between legitimate pauses and what I like to call “the Black Hole of Distraction”? We all know that procrastination won’t get us very far on our quest for 6.0 averages, but it has been proven that studying in large chunks is more of a hindrance than a help. Therefore these intermissions help to clear our thoughts, refocus our energy, and, at times, release our frustration. These are all necessary parts of working, and it is unreasonable to expect a teen, or even an adult, to dedicate hour upon hour to a single, unchanging task. Therefore the issue is not so much how to avoid breaks as it is how to avoid prolonging them. The most important thing for Andover students is taking responsibility for budgeting your own time – yes, there are most definitely nights here when it takes forever to list the things that need doing, never mind the amount of energy needed to accomplish them, but there are also nights when the workload is relatively manageable, and those should not be the nights when you end up complaining to your roommate at one in the morning about how busy you are and how hard it is to get everything done. First of all, your roommate most likely was witness to your wandering attention span, and second of all, who’s in the mood to hear other people’s problems that early in the morning? Only you can be held responsible for your time-management choices, and only you should have to suffer for wrong ones. There are no right answers or magical solutions when it comes to your clashes with the clock. Here at P.A. we are allowed many freedoms, perhaps the most precious one being the freedom to spend our time as we choose. If you are so inclined, there are courses and activities galore to infringe upon your daylight moments, and with no mother yelling at you to go to bed early or stay focused while you’re at the dorm or the library, your study hours could be just another period in which you can hang out with your friends. Phillips Academy students need to start taking their choices more seriously – honestly, some say high school is a microcosm for the real world, and procrastination teaches a valuable lesson the hard way; we are responsible for our actions, and in the end we are the only ones with the power to control our activities.