Fight the Power

You tell yourself it means nothing – you were planning on staying in to catch up on homework, anyway. It’s not that bad. Actually, it’ll even help you get caught up on some sleep. You can’t let it get the better of you, so you keep on telling yourself it’s not that bad. But it is. Friday-night restriction. It’s 7:45 p.m. You’ve signed in, face-to-face with your house counselor, you sit at your desk, and think, okay, I’ll get some homework done. After maybe half an hour of work, you get kind of restless. You want to order some pizza or get something from the vending machine. But wait, you’re not allowed to leave your room except to go to the bathroom. Still, it can’t be so bad, right? So you sit there, at your desk, and watch old episodes of “Two and a Half Men” on Netflix. It’s 9:15. You start to hear the voices of the other people in your dorm coming back from all the fun they had out in the free world. You want to pop your head outside your door and say hello, but you can’t because you’re on Friday-night restriction. A few minutes later, you begin to wander the halls, heading towards the bathroom. Secretly you hope someone will say hi to you on the way, since you can’t have any conversations at all. You get to the bathroom, linger for a couple of minutes and head back to your room, this time putting on an extra-gloomy face so people will take pity on you and talk to you. You are a serf. An insignificant peasant bound to your room. You have no purpose, none. As you continuously roam your dorm, “going to the bathroom,” your very existence seems to diminish with each step that no one notices you. Meanwhile, you hear all the other kids laughing and having fun, playing games, listening to music, everything you wish you could do. It’s torture. And all this for forgetting to sign in? It just seems a little harsh. As a Junior, yet to complete even one full term at Andover, I can’t be expected to master every single rule instantly, as though this whole experience isn’t brand new to me. I apologize, but for the past 15 years, my mother simply did not make me walk downstairs and sign a log-book every weeknight at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. In general, and especially for new students, there is little leeway in the first few weeks of school for mistakes, and house counselors just do not seem to take into account the big adjustment all of us have to make. Ridiculous punishments for minor rule infringements like receiving 10 p.m. lights out for having your lights on one minute after lights-out just should not be happening. These punishments might be more understandable for the student who is intentionally trying to outsmart their house counselors and prefects by doing homework by flashlight, but the rest of us deserve some understanding. The shift to life at PA is an adjustment, one the administration could afford to be more sensitive of. After the first few days of orientation, we are immediately thrust into classes at full speed, with no warning. What house counselors should do is evaluate whatever ridiculously minor infringement the student made on a case-by-case basis, and give them the chance–and the time– to change. It’s not as if we are specifically trying to break the rules. The house counselors need to be a little more conservative with giving out early lights and follow in the reputation Andover has as a second-chance school. We need to take any action necessary so that no soul ever needs to go through the torturous serfdom of Friday-night restriction again for signing in at eight o’clock and 17 seconds. Devontae Freeland is a Junior from Metuchen, NJ.