The Eighth Page

Freshman Fun Time With the Son of the Class of 2010

Over the past few months as a Freshman at Andover, I have learned many important things that I will carry with me through my high school career. I learned the definition of the word “sticktoitiveness.” I discovered that Commons makes delightful fish sticks, without killing any real fish! And I found out that you can get a box of Hot Pockets at CVS for two bucks. So I feel that it is my duty to pass on my knowledge of Andover living to the new batch of Juniors in the form of a survival guide. And when I say “survival guide,” it’s not some light-hearted manual of how to have fun and succeed at Andover. I mean that you will actually need this to keep breathing. Hey kids! Right now you might be wondering: “What’s it like to be at Andover?” or “What should I expect?” or “Do you eat soup or drink it?” The answers to all three of those questions depend on who you talk to. I don’t have an answer to the last question, but I can help with the first two. Simply put, Andover is a tough place to get used to. During your first year here, you will begin to develop habits that are unique and specific to your grade, and just a few of them are below. A habit amongst Junior boys is asking a date to formal dances weeks, even months early. This is perfectly understandable. As a Junior guy, you are stuck in a tough situation. You are thinking that you need to ask her before anyone else does. But by no means should this mean you to ask her to Blue and Silver in October. For a quick and easy way to solve this problem, one could use “The Dibs System” amongst his buddies, flip a coin or even have a fun and exciting cage match. Use your imagination and keep it safe! As for academics, you might be having difficulties in some of your classes, and you might think, “Golly, these classes are far harder than the ones I took at my prestigious middle school!” Well, they are. And I heard your voice crack there. Your first test will likely come back with a big red 3 on it. You might average a 48 in one of your classes. You might be confused when some of your classmates break down and weep uncontrollably when they fail a quiz. This is normal, and it’s not something to worry about, because your grades will go up as time goes on. Dealing with excessive overachievers is only one of the many challenges you will face here. A quick tip that has served me well is to nod with concern and console the overachiever, then crack a joke that they won’t get into college because of their failed quiz. If they don’t smile or laugh, back off as soon as possible. They can then be categorized as “hostile and dangerous.” But just remember, there will always be someone better than you at absolutely everything here. Thought I should throw that in to boost your self-esteem. Class of 2011, I hope this handy instruction manual to Freshman year is helpful. Get some rest over the remainder of your school year and the summer. You’ll need it. That and money.