My name is Jeremy Gardner, and I'm a senior from Massachusetts.
First of all, I would like to say welcome to all the new students. You have entered the world of Andover, the home of Jake's, Pizza Chef, and Proctor Academy. To my returning peers: good to see you survived that LONG summer. This article is intended primarily for those new to the school and those who have managed to maintain perpetual obliviousness during their time here. I will give you the layout of the town, it's various dining facilities, and a sense of what to do when that (appropriate) feeling of isolation from the outside world kicks in (which is sure to happen for you city dwellers). This is your weekday living guide.
Next we have the Wise Center, or Club Wise as my dear friend Nick Aiken once called it.
The Wise is where it's at (excuse my grammar) after dinner on the weekdays.
The Wise is a great place to meet kids outside of class and break the ranks of the grade levels. TO NEW STUDENTS, a huge piece of advice: although you should make sure you keep focus on your academics, taking a break, heading over to the grill, getting a frappe from my man Ed, and socializing is a very healthy (I use that term loosely) way to not get stressed out by school and to meet new kids.
I say this from experience, since my sophomore (first) year I made the mistake of getting too caught up in my studies and not making enough time to get to know other students, leading to a fairly non-existent social life. So take a jolly skip over to the Wise Center, get some chow, play some pool, and best of all, people watch. This is during a concert:
*A word to the wise (no pun intended): between four and six in the afternoon the place is bound to be nearly uninhabited due to sports and dinner.
This is after assembly:
Speaking of dinner, there is our fine eating establishment, the Cannon Dining Hall.
For almost all of you, the dining hall will be where you have the majority of your meals. With a salad and cereal bar, a buffet strip, dessert table, ice cream station, and drink dispensing area, with enough creativity, the possibilities are endless with edible masterpieces to be made (see Mike Henriques or Tom Morgan for details).
With orthodoxy, you'll find yourself burning money at the grill, Jake's, and Pizza Chef faster than you can ask daddy to refill the debit card. Try to mix things up and with the occasional meal purchase and you'll do just fine.
Then there is Jake's, my favorite market in Andover. For those of you who were unfortunate enough to not bring food, or for when you run out, Jake's Market will become your mecca.
Being the only dispensary of packaged foods in our part of Andover, along with the (total) restriction on boarders in regards to weekday driving, you might as well set aside a few Andrew Jackson's for the inevitable: the "Jake's run" as it is fondly referred. Not only do they accommodate your caffeine and candy cravings, during the day they have what can only be called a delicious deli which makes sandwiches of the highest quality, with the finest ingredients known to man. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but after a week-long dining hall diet, it can certainly seem that way (with no disrespect to the dining hall, they have some delicious pumpkin pie). This is Dougo's advisee group after scoring at Jake's:
When the munchies come calling, there are two places for going out and Jake's is one of them.
Your other "off-campus" dining option is the only restaurant in the vicinity: Pizza Chef. With delightfully greasy pizza, wings, and things, you can never go wrong with this nutritious place of eating. I mean it's a pizza parlor, need I say more?
Many of you will find yourself in this dilemma at some point in your Proctor career: you don't feel like eating baked fish fillet or chimichangas, but you don't want to trek all the way to Pizza Chef and the deli at Jake's is closed, you are out of food and your roommate and neighbors won't share, plus it's almost study hall so you can't order take-out, or maybe you simply want a really good BLT or a bagel and cream cheese; and if that's the case there is only one place to go, the Wise. With the food made by the loving hands of Edward Barkowski or one of his talented student assistants, there is simply no better place to go for a frappe and some small talk than the Wise grill.
LOCALES AND RECREATION
As all of you know, or at least you should, we have a LOT of woodland. 3,000 acres to be precise. To put this in perspective, an acre is approximately the size of a football field (save the end zones). Multiply that football field times 3,000, add an abundance of trees, shrubs, and furry creatures, plus Dave Pilla, and you have the Proctor woodlands and Tree Farm. This playground is used not nearly enough and unappreciated by much of the student body. I recommend going on hikes whenever possible, because with the almost superfluous number of trails, the forest never gets boring (plus with a keen eye, or a veteran of the backlands, you may just find a fort or two).
Whether it's just an afternoon saunter or a Sunday adventure, the woods are a great place for clearing the mind and relieving stress.
On a hot day in the spring and early fall the Blackwater River is the place to be.
Across Main St., beyond Carr Field, and past the bike path lies a nice little river in which Proctor students frolic to avoid the heat. There are three swimming spots, one is a small bridge (to the Blackwater ski area) to jump off and wade around. Down the bike path to the right is another larger, higher bridge (that is off-limits-ish). The last spot, more popular among locals, is down the road past Thoreau house to the left of the bridge, where a rope swing (condition: unknown) resides. Besides a shower, the river is the only place to cool off, and in case you weren't aware, we care about our environment, so skip the shower and jump in the river. *A towel is always recommended.
If you enjoy the thrills of skating or biking, there is no better spot than the skatepark across the street from Gannet House. Even if extreme sports aren't your thing, you can usually find entertainment at the park, just ask Cody Sienkiewicz to do a double back flip and he will be happy to show you.
The hidden gem of Andover, is, in my mind, the thrift shop. With cheap, fun clothing, you can't go wrong at the Andover Thrift Shop. So if at the end of the year you find yourself fretting over what to wear to formal, the store is only a few steps away. While it's no American Eagle (or wherever it is you kids shop these days), the thrift shop suits me (again, no pun intended) just fine. Directions: take a right at the skatepark towards the elementary school, go about 200 yards, rotate 90º to your left, face the line of stores, go to the closest one to the elementary school, and voila, you're at the thrift shop.
Also, for those of you with child-like urges, in the evening you can always stroll over to Andover Elementary School and hop on the swing set.
If you ever feel like going for a nice bike ride and don't feel like the rough and tumble paths of the forest, you can always go for a spin on the bike path. *If you don't have a bike, just ask someone if you can borrow theirs, and they will probably say yes. Don't just steal it.
Then there is longboarding, my favorite time-killing activity. For those of you who don't own a longboard, I recommend purchasing one; if you want a way to get from class to class and also have a good time on campus, a board is a sound purchase. The Proctor campus is a great place for casual cruising and the hill past Thoreau is a blast for the more experienced skater.
Two other cool places to hang out are the post office and the bank.
If you are fortunate enough to get injured in one of our variety of sports you get to go to one of my favorite places in Andover, Ragged Mountain Physical Therapy. Run by the always wonderful Diane Fowler, dorm parent of Fowler House (named after her father, a former headmaster) the place is sure to be lively with conversation. There isn't a place in the world where I would rather have my hamstrings tortuously stretched.
And last (for now) but not least, are the grassy knolls in the center of campus. During the warmer times of year you can always find someone strumming a guitar, playing some hackey-sack, or tossing a frisbee. And although our bro population is greatly depleted and games will probably be less frequent, there is always the volleyball net by Carr House.
As you can see, while Proctor certainly is isolated, even on weekdays there are countless activities to partake in. So don't just, as they say in my parts, "crumb" in your dorm room; get up, get out, and have some fun. Meet new people, try new things, and explore your temporary world, because whether you are here for one year or four, you ought to make the most of what time you have.