Time Well Spent

After my acceptance to Andover, the Admission Office invited my family and me to a dessert reception for newly admitted day students. I could not have been more eager to sit in a room full of other accepted locals. It was not, however, the meeting and greeting of my future classmates, nor the dessert table piled high with seven layer bars, that struck me most; rather, it was the speech one Senior gave that made the night such a memorable one. His final comment was, “My four years at Andover went by so quickly, and I would do anything to have four more.” Now, only two years later, I can already understand what he meant. Andover provides us students with nearly limitless opportunities, and although we do our best to take advantage of them all, four years is not enough time to make the most of every single one. Nearly everyday I am reminded of that lack of time. For a while now, I’ve been taking tennis classes on Sundays and Wednesdays. Lately, however, I’ve found that I’ve had to skip those lessons more and more frequently in order to finish all my work. My tennis game has suffered accordingly. Similarly, during my time here at Andover, I’ve become increasingly involved with Indopak. But because Indopak and Philo meet at the same time, I’ve had to put off pursuing my interest in debate. Thus, after learning from repetitive experiences like these that there will never be enough time to achieve everything I want to get done, I have discovered that I must decide which of my interests are important enough to continue pursuing. I was recently asked what the one thing I wanted most out of my time at Andover was. Though I have been asked similar questions before, I never had to narrow my goals down to one specific thing. I tried to imagine myself at the end of my Senior year. What things did I have to accomplish before graduation day? Would I have enough time to do them? The more I pondered those questions, the more I realized that the answers wouldn’t come easily. Sometimes I’m so invested in two different, conflicting things that choosing between them is difficult. This problem even extends to my life outside of Andover. I remember one instance when my dad had to go on a two week business trip. Being a day student, my family wanted me home for dinner the night before he left so that we all could say good-bye. However, I had a math test the next day and really could have benefitted from going to Math Study Center that night. I ended up going home to see my father, and while my math grade didn’t suffer too much, the decision still wasn’t easy. My family was competing for my attention with my grade. I have realized, nevertheless, that the more comfortable I become with making such decisions, the easier my time at Andover will be. I will never be able to take advantage of every opportunity at Andover during the two and a half short years I have left. Still, that lack of time has forced me to consider what really is important to me and, consequently, adjust my schedule. I know now that the wave of satisfaction that I will feel when I receive my diploma will not be because I have done it all, but because I have accomplished what was most important to me. Meera Patel is a two-year Lower from Andover, MA.