As the school year begins and the end of our collective tenure on The Phillipian creeps closer, we are all increasingly aware of our status as upperclassmen. The campus feels a little emptier now that we’re the oldest, but there is still so much to figure out—how to get enough sleep, how to find an empty study room in the new library, how to handle the rough patches of a friendship, how to love ourselves. All that said, we do have some reflections from our time here, and we’ve collected some wishes for the upcoming year (which for many of us is our last year).
This school year, we want to assume the best in people, learn from last year’s mistakes, and leave the past behind. We want to allow ourselves to be dumb at times, and not take ourselves so seriously—we want to let go of our cynicism, smile, and go to school events (Susie’s dance anyone?). Some of us want to try out for dance groups, others improv comedy clubs, and two of us want to learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons. One Editor is committed to knowing the name of every person on campus, and one Editor just wants more ice cream sandwiches. We want to make new friends through instructional sports, befriend those outside of our grade, have meals with teachers we don’t have classes with, and reach out to our friends who have graduated. We want to flaunt our own Paresky food inventions, watch the sunset on Holt Hill, and take photos in front of that one wall at Pomps Pond.
We’re excited to do more things alone—to march into Lower Right by ourselves, for example—and to reclaim our individual agencies. We’re upperclassmen now, but there’s no reason that any member from any grade should feel intimidated by classroom discussions or ashamed of taking time to themselves. We want to not be afraid of asking teachers for extensions when we need them and have more nights when we go to sleep knowing our homework for the next day is done. One of us wants to “become a Silent Study god,” while others want to get out more (several recommend the Addison), and we’ll all try our best to focus on learning instead of being graded, even when that gets hard.
We want to develop strong relationships with people who are worth our time and energy—we’ll focus on self-care, but we won’t go it alone. We want to take advantage of the fact that we’ll be leaving soon, and we want to have those vulnerable conversations with the people we’ve always known but never known. We’re going to believe people when they say they appreciate us, and spend what little time we do have at Andover reminding people of their beauty and being affirmed of our own worth. We want to look back in twenty years and still be able to call each other friends.
These reflections and hopes and aspirations are all just advice, in a way—illustrations of the ways our priorities have shifted and grown over our time at Andover so far. Some other advice: Don’t underestimate how much others can help you. You need sleep (even if it seems like no one around you is getting it). Hang out with the people that make you laugh until your stomach hurts. Try, as hard as you can in the craziness of Andover, to make yourself pause more— in front of the vista, on the top of a commons stairwell, mid-laugh—stretch out the good moments for as long as you can.