The Class of 2012 Looks Forward

For the first issue of the year, Commentary asked three Juniors to write about their first week at Andover. We don’t know whether they sustained mild concussions during Search and Rescue Orientation or just swallowed thebrochures, but so far they all seem pretty happy to be here. Welcome, ’12. Daniel Schultz When I was only eight years old, my brother Josh ’06 matriculated at Phillips Academy. And after he graduated, my sister Rebecca ’09 arrived as a new Lower. So, for the past six years, all that I have ever heard them talk about has been the diverse social life at Andover and the hard work that came with the many freedoms students were given. I proceeded to come every October for Parents’ Weekend, dreaming about attending Andover myself. At every opportunity to write my nametag, I would add ’12 at the end of my name. The wait paid off handsomely, because now, it’s my turn to experience the diverse student body that is Andover. As my mom drove me to the CAMD office for International Registration, I started to feel a little nervous about my upcoming years at Andover. My biggest worry was whether or not I would be able to make friends quickly. But during orientation, the Blue Keys did a fabulous job of helping the new students get acquainted. I soon realized that with such an amazing group of people, my previous worries about making friends were almost laughable . There are so many interesting kids here from all over the States, as well as the world; it would be impossible not to find someone who didn’t have something in common with you. I’ve been here less than a week and I can already tell that this is going to be the best year of my life. Bryan Ha It came to me in an ineffable way, but I could feel it in my heart: from the moment I arrived on campus, I knew that there was something special about Phillips Academy. Everybody says “Hi” to you even though they don’t know who you are, World Partner Buddies from the International Club help new students to adjust, and Blue Keys scream their heads off telling people to honk if they love Andover. One thing I realized during my orientation is that everybody accepts you for who you are, which is one of the merits of Phillips Academy. I have never had so many people ask me where I’m from or met so many people interested in my country, Korea. And seeing so many people captivated by others’ cultures and traditions, I began asking my own questions and started learning about my friends’ countries, including some countries that I have never heard about. Some of the friends I made had a lot in common with me, and some had contrasting characteristics. In spite of that, we all embraced each other’s diverse cultures, trying to accept one another. As Dean of CAMD Linda Griffith had said about a certain “Platinum Rule,” we should “treat others as they want to be treated.” I heard from some Phillips Academy Seniors that Andover is just more than a high school. When I first heard that sentence, I quite didn’t know what it meant. Now that I have arrived at Andover, I understand that this place offers more than just an excellent education. Phillips Academy is a junction where people of different countries and personalities become a whole, and together find who we are, reaching toward goals through academics, sports, community services, or clubs. For new students, Phillips Academy is a new beginning, a new birth, a new home, and it is also a place to make new friends, try new courses. And in all of these endeavors, the school welcomes us with a warm heart. Charlie Danner Going into my first year at PA, I feel a combination of two sensations: nervousness and excitement. I feel nervous about how I will handle the infamous workload, especially away from home. The usual feelings of uncertainty that accompany going to a new school are amplified because of Andover’s sheer size and prestige. On the other hand I am excited for the new experiences Andover has to offer. I have heard so many great things about the school from friends who have gone here, from the teachers at my old school, and from my family that it makes you feel worthy just knowing that you were accepted in the first place. There are some things that new students always fear – like finding friends, picking classes and deciding what sports to play. No matter how fun and entertaining the Blue Keys were (and they definitely were), I still felt nervous. Now that I have lived through my first day of classes, and I am beginning to settle into my life here at Andover, many of those worries seem silly. As it turns out, at least in my case and in the case of most others, I have successfully landed the leap of faith into PA, and I can’t wait for the rest of the year.