To the Editor:
I would like to commend Sewon Park ’17 on her observant and relevant article last week, “Pro Sibi,” which discusses how Andover’s competitive environment often comes into conflict with our school’s “non sibi” values. I would like to add, however, that perhaps we should be considering the idea of “non sibi” in a different light.
We are a part of an educational system that derives its strength from the promotion of competition. Inevitably, the result is that we promote success over love of learning and self-fulfillment. Particularly at a place like Andover, however, love of community, passion and interest in the world around us should be what we gain from our education, not simply knowledge of how to “succeed.”
These values are not only important for creating a positive and innovative atmosphere on campus; they also fall directly in line with a more holistic idea of “non sibi,” much like what Chris Hughes ’02 described at All-School Meeting on April 23.
Love and awareness result in empathy and the ability to consider significant issues from different perspectives. It is through love that a community of people can nurture one another, show mutual understand, respect and acceptance and work towards progress. Competition, on the other hand, leads to cynicism and frustration and often leaves students with feelings of inadequacy.
If we refocused our community on self-fulfillment and self-awareness, we would both create a healthier environment in which students could truly learn and grow and would ultimately promote “non sibi” values by encouraging students to take an interest in the world around them.
Cem Vardar ’15