A New Idiom: Learn and Apply

Here at Andover, we pride ourselves on certain idioms that reflect the values of this community: Non-Sibi, Youth From Every Quarter, Finis Origine Pendet, so on and so forth. We try to bring some of the most talented youth in the world here to Massachusetts, where hopefully, we learn all about knowledge, goodness and wellness with the hope that we take our Andover educations and use them to better the world. Whether through business, finance, politics or a whole host of other professions, Andover graduates carve out niches for themselves. Yet today, during the final, punishing weeks of winter term, we are often too sequestered in our classes, sports, dorms and extracurricular activities to think about what comes later. Fondly referred to as “The Andover Bubble Syndrome,” we use our significant workload as an excuse to remove ourselves from anything not deemed important to our G.P.A’s, S.A.T’s, personal bests, concertos, or portfolios. But while the work we do here is important, we cannot forget the larger world we live in. We as students are told time and time again that we are the “future leaders of the world,” and yet we need to know more about the world we might be leading, regardless of the number of major assignments we haven’t studied for, our games or concertos tomorrow, or how much sleep we want to get. Understanding current events are one facet of being “citizens of the world,” which in the digital age is becoming more important than ever. It is time we use our prodigious resources and collective intellect here at Andover to educate ourselves on the world we will be launched into. For example, now that a transition of power in Egypt has been made, several other countries in the Middle East have had protests, namely Algeria, Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain. While countries like Bahrain and Yemen bask in the limelight offered by their location and U.S foreign involvement in the area, both Algeria and Libya’s situations are far more pressing. A revolution in Libya, which exports roughly 1.6 million barrels of oil a day according to the Associated Press, would have much larger ramifications for world oil prices. The country’s leader, Colonel Muammar El-Qaddafi, has vowed to “fight until the last drop of my blood” in order to preserve his 40-year rule. According to The Daily Telegraph, as of February 23rd, an estimated 1,000 people have been killed in the protests. While the Libyan conflict is important regardless of your point of view, for Andover students it could carry additional weight, if discussed by students and faculty. For example, as every History 300 student has learned, during the early 20th century, especially under the first Roosevelt administration, U.S forces interfered in several countries in Central and South America to protect American foreign interests. Either in or out of class, drawing parallels to historical events can help us better understand our current situation, its causes, and the most intelligent response from the government. While by all means not every student needs to know the economic and political atmosphere of individual countries, current events still need more attention on campus than they currently receive. As members of a rapidly expanding world, we should be able to interpret current events regardless of an Andover diploma. While classes must be taught and facts must be learned, that information is useless if there is no application to the real world. We can go to classes and Paresky Commons, talking about how once we finish these four years, we will be able to take all we learn here and use it to carry the world through the 21st century. Yet these words will be empty unless we actually take the time to understand those issues here, now, at Andover, before we take on the world. Ben Krapels is a three-year Upper from Andover, MA and a columnist for the Phillipian.