The Satisfaction of Action

In the final weeks of warm weather, Winter Break seems distant and Fall Term stretches dauntingly before us. But remember the first days of summer, when three months were ours for the taking? The first item on many students’ agenda was to sleep for a week, but then we started setting other goals that we were sure we were going to get done: get a job, redecorate a room, get in shape, watch every season of Friday Night Lights, finish college applications, beat Halo 2 on Legendary.

Now, ready or not, we’re back. And chances are, some of these things we accomplished and some we just left undone. Somehow the weeks of freedom trickled away, and we were left at the end of the summer feeling unfulfilled. For some, the dissatisfaction of the things undone stains the mix of excitement, nervousness and nostalgia that we feel as we come back to school.

Fall term is fourteen weeks long, but just like summer, the time will go by faster than any of us can expect. Returning students know that this is a trick that surprises us every term. Now is the time to think about what we want to accomplish in the fall. Academic goals are inextricable from the start of any school year, but we can carve out time now for other things that will be personally satisfying as well.

As the early weeks determine how the season will unfold for all students, the entire term lays a foundation for the Andover experience of new students, particularly the Junior class. Juniors, this is the time to sign up for every club at the Club Rally and then whittle the list down to a few pursuits that you love, to establish yourself academically and find habits that help you succeed, and to build relationships with peers and faculty that will help you withstand anything Andover throws at you.

While keeping the bigger Andover picture in mind, returning students can use these weeks to focus more narrowly on what they want from this term. Lowers, as you leave behind “lights out” and often take on a significantly harder workload, it is prime time to practice the survival skill of balancing work and sleep.

Uppers, while you revel in becoming upperclassmen, you may be dreading the notorious all-nighters and other toils of Upper year. Early fall presents an opportunity to think just about your present courses, not about the History 310 paper or board applications that are months away, but to make your way step by step and, hopefully, without too much dependence on caffeine.

Seniors, we have arrived at our final fall, when one task in particular is hard to forget for a minute: applying to college. This term we will finish our essays, we will apply to college, and if it is important to us, we will also have that Disney movie marathon, or go into Boston one day. This time let’s learn from the lessons of summer. Let’s create the time to do what matters to us.

Andover teaches us finis origine pendet, the end depends upon the beginning. Right now we are beginning a term, a year and, for some students, an Andover experience. Let’s use it well.

This Editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXIV.