Yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, many couples on campus were able to celebrate their relationships with each other. For singles, Valentine’s Day is a time to put themselves out there, but for every one of us on campus, it is a challenge. Andover’s boarding school environment has more rules, structure and commitments than a normal day school, and therefore it is considerably more difficult to sustain a dating relationship. By coming to PA, have we turned in our dating freedoms for greater academic opportunities? Needless to say, here at Phillips Academy everybody is busy with something. In addition to academics, students need to juggle athletics, various clubs, music and theater commitments and even such everyday tasks as doing laundry. With more opportunities to pursue activities that you are interested in, there come just as many opportunities to meet new people. The dilemma appears when two people decide to start dating around all of their combined commitments. Just having too many activities may deter some people from dating altogether. In a place where every passing second is precious, how do people slow down their day to spend time with the person they care about? To add insult to injury, the Academy’s rules for boarding students are not particularly accommodating to those who are in a relationship. With 1,087 students attending the Academy and around 75 percent of those students boarding on campus, these rules cannot be disregarded. Sign-in, day excuses and car permission are just a few of the rules that boarding students must follow. When going out on a date, these rules can become hindrances to the amount of time a couple can spend with each other. In the end, it seems almost impossible to sustain a dating relationship on campus. With so many constrictions and rules, it almost doesn’t seem worth it. Two people cannot even go to the movies without going through a house counselor first, and even if a couple wanted to go to dinner downtown, there are rules concerning sign-in. With limited activities on weekends and almost no time to spare during weekdays, how do students make dating a worthwhile endeavor? Despite these stringent rules, there are some PA students who find their own way to make dating work on campus. Adam Tohn ’10, who is currently in a relationship, remembers that he was once told that, “Dating is like another class; nobody has time for it.” When asked how he personally sustains his connection with his girlfriend, he said, “My other friendships suffer; it’s like an investment. You’re either dating or have a lot of friends; you can’t do both completely.” It seems that those who wish to start dating at Phillips Academy must be prepared to make a few sacrifices. As there are no exceptions to the school’s rules, students have to find a way to spend time with their significant others in spite of the policies. Singles who have the desire to enter an intimate relationship may not think it worth the effort. The danger is that those already in relationships may give up, thinking it’s too hard to keep up with all the rules. Will love stories at Andover really have a happy ending? Or will the policies imposed upon us crush all hopes of anyone ever dating on campus? We will have to see next Valentine’s Day.
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