A Step Back to Reality

Despite the diverse interests of the student body at Andover, there is one topic that’s commonly discussed: college admissions.

Though I am only a Lower, I too can’t help but feel my concern growing, especially with Upper year looming around the corner.

No matter where I go or whom I talk to, college seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. What’s worse, the conversations surrounding this topic often turn into malicious contests to see who is better prepared in terms of grades, extracurricular activities and leadership positions. With college admissions always at the forefront of our motivations, do we still love learning for the sake of learning, or are we solely focused on gaining admission to selective universities?

I have never heard of a student taking a course purely because he or she had a passion for that class. Instead, it seems that the primary objective of many Andover students is to take classes that will impress the college of their choice. This forces many to challenge themselves in new subjects they may have never dared to try, which is certainly one positive effect of this college admission obsession.

Something important, however, is lost with this mindset. When taking a class just for the sake of putting it on your transcript, the joy and passion of truly learning is lost.

Given the competitive and cutthroat college admissions process in our country, I worry that the four years many of us spend here will simply pass by in a blur as we race on toward the next step in our educations.

As any student here will tell you, life at Andover is hectic. We all juggle clubs, sports, classes and everyday tasks like doing our laundry and cleaning our rooms. This is a reflection of ordinary life.

However, in such a pressurized community as Andover, life can start to turn into a race from one assignment to another without room in between to absorb the information we are given.

Don’t get me wrong, studying and getting good grades is important, but if students spend their entire high school careers striving for the next step, when will the process ever stop? Will they rush their way through college, always studying for the next test or exam? At that point, is it really too much of an exaggeration to say that they’ll rush through their entire lives, never stopping to enjoy the small moments that make a life worth living?

My friends and I fret about our futures, never stopping to realize how lucky we are to be in the present. All the while, there’s a world right outside of our dorms with new experiences just waiting to be had.

It’s important to take the time to enjoy the moment you’re in. Don’t cease studying all together, but do take a little bit of time out of your day to read a book, laugh with your friends, learn a new hobby or just sit and think.

You’ll wish you had taken the time to make true memories if, when as an adult, all you remember of your time at Andover is the smell of textbooks and the pain of long hours locked away in your dorm.

Katia Lezine is a new Lower fromWinston-Salem, NC.