Whenever we look at our school calendar in August, we see Bonus Weekend just three and a half weeks into the new year, and often scoff at the notion we would need a respite that soon after Winter Break. And then the realities of January hit us, and we always enter this weekend incredibly thankful for a few days off. The challenge this time of year is to step back, in the midst of our busy schedules, and appreciate the incredible amount of hard work that goes into daily life at Proctor. We must pause and allow ourselves to recharge.
Last week’s Mike’s Notes discussed some of the challenges we have faced as a community over the past weeks: technology issues, widespread illness and one of the worst flu seasons we’ve had in recent years, discipline issues, weather issues, and more weather issues. The list of ‘community’ challenges goes on and on, and when we layer our personal lives (sickness, unplanned snow days for our kids, and just regular life stuff), it is easy to focus on what is wrong. Sometimes we just want to throw our hands in the air and allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed by it all.
And yet if we allow ourselves a bit more perspective, the picture shifts. The chaos of the micro-moment gains clarity as you observe the whole. Advisors sitting one-on-one with advisees after assembly. Classes engaging students in their own learning as deer brains are dissected and science becomes incredibly real. Triangulated conversations of support between Learning Specialists, advisors, and parents helping students navigate boarding school life. Lights glowing each night in Shirley, Maxwell Savage, and the Fowler Learning Center as extra help sessions are held by teachers committed to doing everything possible to help their students make progress. Coaches working tirelessly with their players to optimize performance, both in the classroom and on the court/ice/slopes. Students, faculty, and staff flocking to the new fitness center each afternoon in unprecedented numbers because our community recognizes the connection between physical exercise and emotional well-being. Dorm parents ordering late night pizza or Chinese because they know their crew needs a little boost. These are the moments we often take for granted, but serve as the foundation of our community. They are the moments that sustain us, both individually and collectively.
We must remind ourselves this hard work is just as rewarding as it is exhausting. Bonus Weekend may be just a glorified “normal person weekend”, but to us it is an opportunity to set aside the busyness of daily life for just long enough to be rejuvenated for the month of February. Unlike the technology to which we are all tethered, we need to unplug in order to recharge. So take time this weekend not just to catch up on the work that will always be there for you to do, but to truly recharge. We’ll be following our own advice and look forward to returning to the digital world on Monday evening as our students travel back to campus in time for evening study hall.