A Year Apart

Seniors—and their less-fortunate counterparts—can finally exhale. The year is all but over; the date 5/30/2008 will soon be just another day crossed off on a calendar; we will soon set our pencils down from our last exams. These last days will be spent in a daze of exhaustion and nostalgia, wrapping brown boxes in packing tape and saying our goodbyes. Seniors, who are leaving Andover Hill for good, suddenly see their peers and school as if for the first time. Others, who will return after a too-brief summer at home, may be eager to depart. During Tuesday’s summer cloudburst, a scene materialized that seemed distinctly out of place at the caricature of Phillips Academy from which so many are ready to escape. As thunder echoed the bell dismissing the day’s last class, a crowd of kids ran out of academic buildings and into the rain. Some ecstatically splashed through puddles, while others went mud-sliding on the quads. We were no longer a concentrated clique of over-worked students running on little-to-no sleep, thinking only about the next exam or major assignment. Sure, we were acting like we were about four-years-old, but suddenly nothing mattered more. Looking back over the year, it is important to remember the thunderstorms and perfect days sleeping on the great lawn, the times when we couldn’t be happier to be with our friends, even when we had about a million other commitments and obligations. This school can push us to our physical and mental limits; it expects the world from our teenage minds and bodies. And that is what makes it great. But it shouldn’t take a thunderstorm or the last week of Senior Spring to rouse us from our sleep-walking attitude toward academics and extracurriculars. The pressure at this school is constant, mind-numbing. At the year’s end, we remember what it feels like not to be subject to this pressure – the way we felt when we first came to Andover in the first place. As Carlos Hoyt said at All-School Meeting, “We should not let the pressure to produce stifle the desire to create.” Our time at Andover is brief, and it is what we make of it. For those of us returning to Andover, don’t forget to look up once in a while. Between writing English papers, take a minute to enjoy the book for the pleasure of reading it itself. Between frantically taking notes, listen to what the teacher is saying. There are people and moments that occur on this campus that inspire, if you remember that you once had the desire to find them. To those of us going out into the real world (as much as college is the real world) and those coming back to Andover Hill: hold on to the desire to create.