Nothing to Lose

When Bill Belichick addressed many of the post-graduates during spring re-visit activities, he made it very clear to all of us that doing a post-graduate year at Andover was the best decision he had made in his life. To hear this from a three-time Super Bowl winning coach certainly shows the profound nature of the post-graduate experience. Coach Belichick was adamant that there is absolutely nothing to be lost, but rather much to be gained, from a post-graduate year. I came to realize the truth in that sentiment very quickly. In discovering that truth, I learned that Andover is what you make of it. The school is here to help us arrive at our destination, whether it is developing athletically for an NCAA sport, striving for admittance to a top university or immersing ourselves in a new culture or language. Being a PG is certainly a unique experience, as we are the oldest in the school and the only ones who have already received a high school diploma. The knowledge and wisdom from our high school years helps us to integrate into the Senior class seamlessly through our common triumphs and struggles. The insight and experiences that post-graduates possess make us an integral part of the community here at Andover. In sports, post-graduates become leaders of their teams and help to maintain Andover’s highly esteemed athletic program. PGs also serve as role models for younger students and leaders in the school community. Post-graduate life is not very different from that of a Senior. I figured that having already completed my Senior year, it would be easier the second time around, but I was wrong. The challenges that Andover throws at you on a day to day basis ensures that you are always busy, whether it is in a club, a classroom or a sports team. Sometimes people look at post-graduates as having an easy year with no work and easy classes. This really couldn’t be much further from the truth. Post-graduates have to go through the same hectic process of college applications and standardized testing as Seniors do and are also expected to be leaders on sport teams. Post-graduates are also enrolled in many 500 and 600 level courses in all subject areas, and although having completed high school course requirements, they will challenge themselves in the classroom to better prepare themselves for college. Thus, college preparation is perhaps the fulcrum of the post-graduate experience at Andover. Whether it is athletic, academic or cultural preparation, a post-graduate year at Andover creates countless opportunities through friendships formed and lessons learned. While it is still very early in the school year, I feel us as post-graduates have already contributed much to the school, and the school has given just as much back to us. I can truly begin to see why Coach Belichick believes in the significance of a post graduate year. I am sure the entire post-graduate class would agree with me as I recall the words of Coach Belichick: “Nothing can be lost from a post-graduate year, but much can be gained.” These gains are already very evident in our post-graduate class both individually and as a whole and will certainly continue through to Commencement. Andrew Sullivan is a Post-Graduate from St. John’s, Canada.