Stop Complaining, Have a Good Weekend

Complain, complain, complain. I have never heard a group of teenagers complain as much as I have since coming to Andover. If we are not whining about how much work we have, we are whining about the food in Commons. Freshman continually whine about the “freshman reputation” they have to deal with, not seeming to understand that it is nothing personal but simply something that comes with the territory of being a Junior. Lately, though, it seems the primary complaint concerns the weekend activities at Andover. Maggie Maffione ’08 addressed this issue in her Commentary article last week and quoted one student as saying, “Weekends here are about as old as that song chicken noodle soup.” Plain and simple, weekends here are what you make of them. It is not to any extent the fault of the Student Activities Board if someone’s weekend does not meet up to his or her expectations. Already this year, the Andover Student Activities Board has coordinated at least four dances, rented buses to take students laser tagging, arranged for an outdoor movie, and hosted performances by up-and-coming musicians, such as Mieka Pauley. Two weekends ago, the Board coordinated a dual event with poet and teacher Anthony Morales, with a poetry reading on Friday night followed by a writing workshop the next morning. Though not everyone may agree, some students, myself included, enjoy hearing poetry. Since it is difficult to attend events during the week, the Board schedules them on the weekend. In fact, the Saturday writing workshop was phenomenal and extremely inspiring, but probably a total of only thirty kids attended. Maybe the issue is not that the activities offered on campus are banal, but instead, that students are not taking advantage of them. Dances are one of the easiest ways to demonstrate this lack of initiative on the part of the students to make their weekends fun. As mentioned in Maffione’s article, many PA girls spend a portion of their Saturday nights swapping clothes and applying make-up to look desirable for the boys they will meet at the dance. Then what happens? The girls return from the dance disheartened and disappointed because they did not dance with the boy they wanted to or in many cases, did not dance with a boy at all. The reason this is so irritating is because students at Andover schedule their weekends. We have to set aside time to have fun because work is one of our top priorities. Consequently, if someone’s “fun time” was the Saturday night dance and he or she did not get to dance with the person so desired, it feels like a complete waste of time. Now, the only thing to return to is work. Yes, this is an unfortunate situation, but one that can be easily reversed. The almost weekly dances that Andover coordinates provide plenty of opportunities to dance with the boy or girl of one’s choosing. So girls, next time you see a cute boy sitting in Ryley, ask him to dance yourself. Obviously, don’t approach him with clasped hands and squeak out in a second grader’s voice, “Will you please dance with me?” Make it a little more enticing than that. But there is no reason why the girl has to wait for the guy to take the initiative. The worst that could happen is he declines the offer, but he may not. You never know if you do not ask. Thus far, I’ve restricted myself to focusing on the campus activities available to students, not even highlighting the possibilities available to students off-campus. Thank heavens, unlike schools like Northfield Mount Hermon, we have a town that we can meander in after classes, complete with a Starbucks, Bertucci’s, and ice cream parlor. Why not go out to dinner with a group of friends on a Saturday night? Or go down to Starbucks and sink into their plush chairs with a cup of steaming cinnamon apple cider warming your wind-whipped palms? If that doesn’t suit you, go to The Loop to see a movie, or make friends with some day students and get them to buy pumpkins to carve jack-o-lanterns from. If these options are still not satiating, take the fifty-minute train ride into Boston (granted, this may be more difficult if you are an athlete), and spend the day in the city. There are a multitude of options available to Andover students when it comes to deciding how to structure a weekend. It all boils down the advantage the student takes of the opportunities. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our complaining that we lose sight of how lucky we actually are. So the next time you find yourself sitting at a desk, staring mindlessly out the window thinking, “I am so bored,” take some of that creativity, the kind that gets you 6’s on your English papers and art projects, and apply it to your weekend. Trust me, life will be a lot more enjoyable.