My time at Andover has been kaleidoscopic. My two years here have provided so many lenses to look through; it’s impossible to talk about my time here as one time here. My times here have crossed paths — of dirt, grass and stone. They’ve crossed blue faces — of people, clocks and institutions. I hope this piece will give you a little glance through my kaleidoscope, so that my experience can become part of yours.
My time at Andover has been enriched by people. When I arrived as a new Upper, this school was a sea of strangers. But slowly the campus and people became familiar. I can joyfully say I’ve met great people here and had great conversations — about abstract art, Chicana feminism, nutrition, volleyball, programming, electronic dance music. I’ve met people who’ve made me laugh and cry — sometimes together. I’ve met people who make me smile and think and whom I’ll always remember.
My time at Andover has been filled with art. There’s the Addison Gallery of American Art, Drama Labs, concerts and recitals. But beyond that, this campus has such beautiful opportunities for photography; I think I’ve made over 10,000 photographs on campus. I spent a term in the printmaking studio — combining computers, poetry and ink rollers. I’ve spent time in the video lab — filming, splicing and watching movies. And I’ve filled the margins of countless notebooks with countless pen and pencil doodles.
My time at Andover has been about making connections. Not business connections or contacts, but connections between fields and ideas. I took a calculus class that embraced history and archaeology and had me theorizing about the handwriting skills of ancient Turkish scribes. I dove into philosophy, feminism and linguistics in my English classes. In biology class we discussed institutional racism and biological essentialism alongside genetics. And one Spanish teacher alone taught me more than I’d ever learned before about commerce, culture and trade, while exposing me to a side of our nation’s past I’d never seen in any history book.
My time at Andover has been short. I’ve had only two swift years here. It wasn’t enough time to read “Midnight’s Children” or “Thus Spoke Zarathustra.” It wasn’t enough time to learn about molecular gastronomy or fluid mechanics. It wasn’t enough time to go to the top of the Bell Tower or explore every trail in the Cochran Bird Sanctuary.
My time at Andover has broadened me. Although I was familiar with feminism and race issues before coming here, I only understood them shallowly. But I think more importantly, I never went out of my way to learn about them. At home, I would spend hours on Wikipedia, filling my screen with articles about particle physics, American history, logic puzzles, esoteric programming languages, but I spent less time reading about Asian-American feminism, the Igbo Jews of Nigeria or imperialism in Latin America.
My time at Andover has been full of risks that didn’t pay off immediately. Upper Fall I auditioned for The Yorkies and didn’t get a callback. Upper Winter I tried out for the squash team but didn’t make it. Upper Spring I tried to apply for board positions, but none ended up working out. But these failures led me down other paths: I explored campus with the extra free time in the fall. Free weekends in the winter allowed me to research and get involved with feminism. The extra energy I had in the spring helped me meet so many more people, paving the way for a great Senior year.
My time at Andover has been soaked in beauty. I’ve been lucky to experience the symphony of seasons two times here. Summer was my first Andover season, when I came for Summer Session 2011. I remember the air being as full of heat as the trees were of leaves. The campus swelled and swayed with the wind, the chatter of friends, the sound of summer birds. At that time, which was before I even considered applying, I never expected to see the leaves on these trees fall to the ground, a red carpet for winter to tread on. But in the end, I got to watch it happen not once, but twice. I got to see fall daub warm paint on the Grandfather Tree’s leaves. I got to see those same leaves turn auburn and then skip across frosted air. I got to see flurries wisp across the sky, then pile up in mountains of white velvet that eventually greyed and shrunk away. I got to smell the flowers explode so suddenly upon the foliage, releasing winter’s compressed energies. I got to wander through arcades of trees, past weathered brick buildings, past great blue herons rejoicing in the air above Rabbit Pond. Each day is a joy on this painting we call a campus.
My time at Andover has been filled with smiles. Soft smiles, proud smiles, sad smiles, wild smiles, kind smiles, blue smiles — by this point I think I’ve probably racked up more smiles than photographs. And like photographs, each is a look through the fantastic kaleidoscope that was, is and will always be my time at Andover.
_Alex Tamkin is a two-year Senior from Glencoe, IL._