It seems like only yesterday I was walking up the lawn to officially begin my career here at Andover. Clad in a freshly purchased tie that’s knot screamed, “The guy who tied me learned how to do this an hour ago on Youtube,” I looked at the unfamiliar faces around me and wondered what the future would hold.
Back in the dorm, Mr. Hoenig told all of the freshmen to look around the room. He said, “kids in this room will soon become some of your closest friends, not only here at Andover but also for the rest of your life after school.” Seeing the equally nervous faces looking back at me in the Rockwell common room that night made it hard for me to believe this.
Looking back, he couldn’t have been more right. Whether it’s through literally living together away from home or bonding through the shared challenges of this school, I’ve made friends here that are exactly what Mr. Hoenig told me they would be. Simply put, they’re great people and I know I’ll be close to them as we approach that day when we walk down the lawn and receive our diploma and well into the future after that.
For some, though, this day is coming sooner than expected. A few of my closest friends are graduating early, not to college but, rather, to other high schools. For various reasons, they’ve decided to take a different path with their life. And that’s great. They’re excited for the new opportunities in their future, and I’m excited for them. But, in a selfish way, it hurts to see them go.
It’s not like the even faster pace of the last weeks of every term helps me cope, either. At a school where the unwritten rule is “school first, life second,’ finding time to spend with my friends is difficult. As I write this, the last day of school is 11 days away-the first day of finals, a mere eight. It’s so easy in this final stretch to be sucked into the race to the finish that we often lose sight of what’s really important around us. To use the old saying, “it’s about the journey not the destination.”
Far too often I find myself thinking only of the destination. I’ve ignored a friend and instead sequestered myself in an empty classroom to study much too often. So what if this choice helps me get a better grade on my final, so what if that helps me get into a better college. That’s not to say that I’m not going to study (I am) and it’s not to say that I don’t want to get into a good college (I do), but I want to keep a healthy balance between work and friends. After all, I only have 11 days left with some of them.
And it’s not like my situation is a unique one, either. Across the Andover community, almost everyone is dealing with something like this. Whether you’re like me and you have friends making an early departure from the Academy or you’re a Senior finally starting to realize that your days here on Andover Hill are quickly coming to a finish, ends are quickly approaching.
In these final days, it’s important to savor every single “last.” The last game of ultimate on the lawn, the last baseball game, even the last double English-all of these experiences need not be looked at as sad moments but rather as opportunities to enjoy the people you’ve shared so many other times with. And they certainly are more important than making sure you memorized that last Spanish vocab word for your final.
When you look back on the time you spent on the Hill, these moments will be what you remember, not what grades you got. So savor the experience and the company of every friend you have, because even though the friendships may last a lifetime, the time you spend together will not.
Zach Merchant is a two-year Lower from Lebanon, PA.