Commentary

Wintering in Andover

Freshman year, we all trudged through a terrible winter. We faced a snow-cloaked campus from December through April and temperatures that remained below 25 degrees for what felt like months on end. I had to adjust, and it was not simple.

Then came Lower year. I dreaded a similar winter, but by April, it seemed like nothing had happened. I was disappointed. Despite one cataclysmic October snowstorm, that winter was nothing like the terror of what I had experienced Freshman year. The same was true of my Upper year. I buckled down, I prepared, but, again, I was disappointed. It was anticlimactic.

Senior year, however, I finally got what I wanted. It snowed nine times in 16 days, and I finally felt the sting of the winter that I had been waiting for. As I struggled through the skating rink that was central campus, I could not help but smile. Everybody was upset, but everyone was also happy. I relished the opportunity to steady myself through one last extreme Andover winter before leaving for the summer, leaving forever.

Though we all may complain about the soul-crushing cold, the winter is really not so bad. Every summer, I miss it. If we dress warmly and prepare for it, we can all easily weather the storm with some hot chocolate, lots of coffee and our best friends. After winter, we look back romantically at the primal struggle we faced.

In retrospect, my Andover experience has been one long, spectacular winter. Andover has taught me not just how to weather the storm, but how to harness its winds to propel me onward and upward.

There have obviously been times when I’ve longed for it to be over; but now, as I head towards summer, I realize that it was really something special. I got to wear all my different sweaters; I spent time with my friends; and I learned to appreciate our collective ability to stick it out through the difficult times, even when it seemed so impossible.

Four years ago, I never could have believed in my capacity to write a 12-page research paper within a week. Nor could I have imagined that I would one day be able to understand those squiggles on the chalkboard in “Good Will Hunting,” much less the incredible power they bear. It is even more unlikely that I would have believed I could thrive amidst what must have been over ten cumulative feet of snow.

These days, I do not struggle to walk as fast as I can through the cold, crowded paths with my head down. I do not wish I was somewhere else. Instead, I run through the waist-high snow that blankets the Great Lawn, ruining its symmetry and leaving my own mark on winter.

Above all, however, Andover winters have brought me closer to my friends. If a penguin is caught alone at the onset of winter, he will die. But, if a huddle of penguins face winter together, they can thrive. Without my friends, I could not have made it, but with their support, I excelled.

_Jake Marrus is a four-year Senior from New York, NY, and a Features Editor for _The Phillipian_ CXXXVI._