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Managing Expectations, Perceptions, and Embracing "What Is"

Scott Allenby

When we allow ourselves to become immersed in our own lives, focusing on personal needs, our own frustrations, our own inconveniences, we slip into the unfortunate habit of asking “what if” questions rather than embracing “what is”. As we dig ourselves out of one more (last?) snow storm today, those “what if” questions could consume us if we let them. What if this storm was rain instead of snow? What if our spring teams could have gotten on the fields and courts today instead of removing more snow? What if our campus looked pristine instead of covered in snow? 

Proctor Academy Accepted Students Admissions

Our Admissions Team is wrestling plenty of “what ifs” right now as we prepare for our third Accepted Student Day on Friday. What if weather impacts travel for families? What if our visiting families do not have the “perfect” Proctor day? What if we do not adequately showcase both the breadth and depth of programmatic offerings? As we get real with ourselves, we remember the perfect Proctor day does not exist. We simply must have confidence that the “what is” experience will be authentic and true to Proctor. 

Proctor Academy Accepted Students Admissions

When we shift focus to the moment - the “what is” - we allow ourselves a beautiful gift of self-reflection and authenticity that is otherwise hard to come by during the chaos of the Spring Term. There is perhaps no better moment for this self-reflection on our work as a school than during our student panel conversations where our students willingly put their whole selves on display in a truly beautiful way. They answer questions honestly, from their own perspective, centered on their current place in their Proctor journey, not worrying about the “what-ifs” of the days, weeks, months, or years that came before. Adolescents, when encouraged and supported to do so, have a remarkable ability (often better than ours as adults) to shift their focus beyond the “what if” to their reality in the moment. 

Proctor Academy Accepted Students Admissions

During Tuesday’s Student Panel, Aidan ‘25 shared the following perspective on his Proctor reality, his “what is”, as he approaches the end of his first year here: 

“The beauty of this place is it forces you to not only do what you love, but to do other things too. At home, I played hockey and baseball, but also played the drums and loved singing. When you are looking to expand your opportunities as a hockey player, you are often put in a box as a hockey kid. I didn’t want to leave behind my drum set, my involvement in theater, or my singing to just go become one thing. When I found Proctor, the school didn’t want me because I was a hockey player; they wanted me because I had all these facets of my life. I felt like I could be everything that I am here, and that is so beautiful. I will forever be grateful for the fact that I am allowed to and encouraged to be my whole self here.” 

Proctor Academy Accepted Students Admissions

Aidan’s words capture what we hope each of our students eventually comes to embrace about Proctor: a wholehearted desire for each of our students to bring their entire identity to our school community, not worrying about the “what ifs” of exploring or expanding their identity. May we all strive to follow Aidan’s lead in our own lives, especially as we dig out from another snow storm! 

Check out more photos from our Accepted Student Days!

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