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Phillips Academy Andover in Andover, MA

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Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Our experiences over these past 5 weeks have changed us forever by developing our character and intellect. We all came to Andover for the academics, but we are departing today with so much more. We are leaving with our own growth, our great memories and our strong friendships that resulted from our passion to learn.

Over the past weeks, our teachers here were available and always took the time to understand us as students. We learned to construct a rich sentence, solve a quadratic equation and dissect a stray cat. Though, there is so much more we can take out of learning at Andover. Our teachers always pushed us to do our best and they never settled for our mediocre work. From being in this type of learning environment, we have all flourished into better students.

When we all return to our respective schools, our peers will have notice how much we have grown as a student and person. We took on responsibilities and became more independent. We were essentially adults here—deciding when to eat, when to spend money, when to (or not) do laundry and when to do homework. Some of us learned how it feels to pull an all-nighter for a research paper due the following morning. Others faced the tough reality that our parents could not clean our dorms, nor tuck us into bed. And for all of us, we had to overcome the obstacle of not sleeping past our alarm clocks. Andover essentially made us grow up and take a stand for ourselves. We have all changed for the better.

I know for me personally, I’m going to miss every moment I’ve spent here. At Andover, days felt like weeks and weeks felt like years. Each morning I would wake up, and hope that I could go back and relive the memories of the previous day. It’s the details of Andover that we’re all going to miss the most. Don’t you remember the long lines in commons for chicken nugget day and the countless people on crutches? Or do you remember the train rides to Boston and the Saturday night dances? I know I’m going to miss the late nights talking to my dorm mates and seeing a sea of Mac Books in the library. I’m never going to forget the walks to CVS, nor study hours in the silent room. I’ll even miss sweating because of no A/C and crossing the street every time I try to get to my dorm. But most importantly I will miss the fried chicken in commons and soft-served ice cream (hands-down the best ice cream in the world). Every precious second spent here brought new memories and friendships.

Our friends sitting next to us will last a lifetime. We all saw each other at the best and worst of times. We saw the girls’ no-makeup days and the boys’ bad hair days. We were together from 8:30 in the morning to 9:30 at night. We pulled practical jokes on one another and had fire drills at 10:31 PM. We got room restriction for not signing in and went on school trips together. We cried, laughed and lived together for 5 weeks. Whether we live 1 mile, or 10,00 miles away from each other, we bonded in a special type of way and created a home away from home.

When I return home from Andover, I know exactly what I will say about this incredible experience. I will tell them Phillips Academy Andover Summer Session is the greatest experience I have ever had. It has literally been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’ll admit that when I took in my first breath on Andover’s beautiful campus, I asked myself, “What in the world am I doing here?” I sometimes wondered why I decided to spend my summer studying here, instead of traveling and hanging out with my friends. I will even confess that I occasionally resented the 3 hours of homework a night and Saturday morning classes. But when I put the puzzle pieces together, I see that without the homework or Saturday morning classes, our experience at Andover would not be complete. Andover gives more than academics. Andover is the only place in the world that leaves its students with a strong foundation of academics, and also the confidence to take on the world.

This genuinely was the experience of a lifetime. We grew as students and people, created great memories and made strong friendships that will last a lifetime. Even though our time at Andover is over, we must remember what we’ve learned—inside and outside of the classroom. From this day on, we won’t see our dorm mates at 7:00 in the morning, wait in long lines for chicken nuggets, nor learn in this unique environment. Our lives will go on. Just like Oliver Wendell Holmes said, we will never be the same after our experience here. Now when you step out of the doors of the chapel, take a deep breath and remember our time together.



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