Where Loyalties Lie

My experiences with extra-curriculars at Andover have awakened a pertinent question that, up until recently, had remained dormant: Where do our loyalties lie? A friend of mine put this thought far more eloquently when he stated, “Are we serving organization and the members as a whole, or are we serving ambition and self-interest?” This idea has gained more and more prevalence among my thoughts towards these clubs. It seems that we put a great deal of effort into these organizations with simply ourselves in mind. It’s all about making the big tournaments, getting the important board positions and impressing the right people. Instead of supporting the ideals of a club, we choose to advance our statuses within it. We cannot shirk our commitments to a society once we achieve the ends we have been striving for. Take a hypothetical example of a student who chooses to join Mock Trial, a notable club on campus where participants imitate actual courtroom procedures. The student appears passionate about the club, advancing through the ranks throughout his tenure at Andover. Then, he qualifies for the tournament he has always dreamed of. All of a sudden, the society itself is no longer relevant. He has used it to achieve his own ends, and it now serves no meaningful purpose other than having been a springboard for the student to achieve his own ambitions. I have seen such behavior first hand throughout my time here, and it serves as a stunning witness to the idea that our loyalties do not lie with the organizations, but rather with what we can achieve through them. If these organizations were established to serve a passion, then why do we only serve that passion as long as we can get some sort of reward out of it? Did we jam ourselves into the back end of Uncommons at the club rally fall term just to enhance our college resumes? Or did we go there to broaden our interests, to pursue new things and to explore new ideas? Personally, I joined the Philomathean Society to learn how to debate, not to become president. I’m not writing this article to become Editor in Chief, I’m writing it because I believe that what I’m saying is important. In my two years at Andover, I have seen club boards reduce themselves to vicious infighting because of self-interest. I have seen people who strive for reward turn against the ideals of an organization. At Andover, a place where so many ideas and interests are pursued, it is a sin to use these organizations for personal gain. When we signed our names on those sheets in the fall, we pledged our loyalty to those clubs. We did not pledge to serve ourselves. Chris Meyer is a two-year Lower from Darien, Connecticut.