Overall, this term has been very self-reflective and worked to put my health and my family’s health before all other aspects of my life. There were a lot of people in my life this term who thought it would be best for me to take a break from Andover for the rest of my junior year and finish out my studies in a less rigorous environment in hopes to try and minimize my levels of stress. Though it may have been against my better judgement,I decided to stay a part of the Andover community for the rest of this term and I am finally starting to see the benefits as the end of the term is in sight. I have come to realize that my academics and learning do not revolve around the grade that my transcript reads, but the knowledge and wisdom I gain in the experience.
Stepping onto campus for the first time this term after everyone else had already been through two weeks of classes, I knew my term was going to take a different path than most peoples and I accepted that fact. I did not however anticipate hearing the words “I’m sorry Mr. Xenakis but you have cancer” or developing the flu, strep throat, and a concussion in the eight weeks I have been back at Andover. All of these elements have largely impacted my reading and writing for this term. Sitting in a mental hospital surrounded by girls with eating disorders reading a play about a man who was eating himself to death essentially because his boyfriend starved himself to death, I had a bit of a different perspective than I may have had reading the play in the classroom. I read this play more insightfully and closely than I would have had I not been surrounded by depression and eating disorders of all kinds that were ruining people’s lives and for some leading them down a path ending in their death. For the personal relation I had with these issues, I tried to write from a place of honesty and reality within me. I tried to not get so tied up in the grade, but consider instead what each writing assignment could do for me and how much I could gain from each writing. This term, writing has become a therapeutic outlet for me and I continue to foster this relationship with my reading and writing, expanding my vocabulary and becoming a more conscious reader as well as a thoughtful and heartfelt writer.
Next term I can only hope that the material we read for class can speak to me as much as this past’s term did. With every assignment I long to feel inspired to write about things that are important to me, not just to fill the white space on the page. I want to take the most value away from each assignment we are given, not only think about completing it for the sake of getting a grade at the end or as a marker that I am one step closer to the end of the term. I hope to meet with my teachers, not only my English teacher, to continue my learning outside of the classroom and tap into the vast wells of knowledge that exist at Andover. I want to have meaningful conversations and develop lasting relationships with adults on campus. In the past I have been so concerned with leaving my mark on Andover, doing something that will not make me only a little fish in a big pond. I aspired to be distinct, someone that would be remembered. Now I have discovered that it doesn’t matter the quantity of people that I talk to, but the quality of conversations and the hope that I can shape people in a way that others have positively influenced me here.