Fear Not, Fellow Uppers

Upper year. two words that strike fear into our hearts. For the past couple of years here at Andover, I have heard the tales about the History 300 papers, the frequent all-nighters, and the unending stress. As the upcoming school year got closer, my parents emphasized the importance of my standardized scores and GPA, my teammates talked about training for the upcoming crew season, and my friends posted Facebook status updates saying, “Upper year. Six courses. No friends. Here I come…” In essence, as summer drew to a close, I was sure I was set up for certain disaster.

I remained at this conclusion until I started talking to my friends who were going back to Andover early for prefect duties, varsity sports, and community service. They all seemed so excited and eager to be going back for their organizations and teams. Other classmates expressed to me how thrilled they were to be starting up new clubs this school year or finally starting those board positions they had secured last spring. Instead of breaking down into tears, I was starting to become, dare I say, excited to be an Upper.

Yes, although Upper year may require excessive amounts of caffeine, it also includes exciting things like finally leading your community service project, getting into that advanced chemistry course, and coming up with the long-awaited class sign. By the end of this year, we will have started thinking about our futures. And, as we say goodbye to the class of 2012, we will also witness the end of an era as we bid farewell to our Head of School, Mrs. Chase.

We came to Andover so that we could take advantage of everything this school has to offer and to emerge as better people because of it. The year to dive into classes, clubs or athletics is this one right here, and to shirk from the opportunities that will enrich and stretch us by hiding in our rooms, afraid of Upper year, would be a waste.

The past two years have prepared us with writing skills gained from English, analytical thinking from history, and problem solving from math. We have learned to maximize our time, balance academics and activities, and squeeze in sleep during our free periods. This year will be our chance to put all these newly acquired abilities to use and reach our true potential in every aspect of Andover from biology to Mock Trial.

At the end of this year, the class of 2013 will become leaders and fulfill the positions of student council, Blue Key Heads, and team captains. We will no longer question our abilities, but rather, we will know with confidence that we are resilient, strong, and capable.

Let us not cower in fear, but instead, be grateful that we are given the chance to truly envelop ourselves in the Andover experience. So now, with our textbook in one hand and a coffee mug in the other, we can leave the dorm and prove to everyone that although we may be the class of 2013, we are the luckiest of them all.

Christiana Nguyen is a three-year Upper from Vancouver, WA and an Associate Commentary Editor for The Phillipian.