Some Food for Thought

How would you define “Andover”? By the Numbers: Year founded: 1778. Total enrollment: 1,108. Teaching faculty: 223. Average class size: 13.0. Countries represented: 34. Average SAT: 2076. Time here for four-year student: 12,096,000 seconds. Snow Days: 0. By the Pros: The academic rigor. The diversity. Hardworking teachers and students. The transformative personal independence. Cheering at the top of your lungs because someone is waving a battered field hockey stick. Blue gummy sharks. Finding a calling, a specialty, a passion. By the Cons: The cost of tuition. The stress. The distance from family and friends back home. The fatigue. To Phillips Academy Parents: We would like to extend a warm welcome as you return to campus for Parents’ Weekend. A lot has transpired here since school commenced. Juniors and Lowers have campaigned for positions in Student Council. The entire student body participated in this year’s Non Sibi Day community service projects. Midterms have whizzed by us, and soon enough, we will embark on the treacherous descent into winter. As you sample your child’s classes, shake the hands of your child’s house counselors or walk around campus and meet fellow parents, you may be surprised by some aspects of our Andover lives. Life here often moves so quickly that we find ourselves grappling with “what’s next” before we’ve been able to process “what happened.” Being a part of this community is always challenging, and you may find your son or daughter in a different state than when he or she left home in September. We certainly don’t expect you to understand everything there is to know about being students at Andover, but we would like to offer a few pieces of advice, from students to parents, that might prove useful: 1) Let us fail. Sometimes we will succeed and sometimes we’ll fall short of expectations. But we’ll never know how to cross that bridge between failure and success unless we have the opportunity to walk it alone. Be supportive of our explorations. Some of us will pursue the same interests we had before coming to PA, but many of us are still searching for our next passion, our next formative experience. By having the freedom to fail, we can test out new waters and build our own bridges. 2) Ease up. Many of us are harder on ourselves that you are on us. We challenge ourselves on a daily basis in the classroom, on the sports field or on the stage. We are likewise challenged to reach our highest potentials by our teachers and our peers. Although we appreciate your advice and encouragement, we’re harder on ourselves than you may think. 3) Fewer phone calls, more food. We love talking to you, Mom and Dad, but Monday and Thursday phone calls can be the worst. An unexpected note or package can be a warmly welcomed surprise. We know you’re thinking of us, and a small treat in our mailboxes on a Wednesday afternoon can greatly lift our spirits. And in turn, we’ll call you when we’re not flooded with five subjects of homework for the next day of classes. Of course, each student has a different experience at this school. People think differently. People learn differently. Some of these suggestions may not apply to you or your child, but understand that we’re quickly evolving from children to young adults. We are perpetually changing how we define this school and our roles in it. So again, we ask, how do you define “Andover”? Have a great weekend! This editorial represents the views of the Editorial Board CXXXII.