It’s a good time of year to re-read the Robert Frost poem Two Tramps In Mud Time. You know the one. The narrator splitting wood in his yard, the blocks of straight grained beech falling “spinterless as a cloven rock.” The tramps walk by, not too long from having spent time in a logger’s camp, having slept who knows where, and they squint and measure the man by the way he wields the axe. You know the poem.
We live in fast-forward, running from one activity to the next, checking email and notifications on our phone constantly. Immersed in ourselves, our own needs, we often slip into the unfortunate pattern of comparing our own life to those around us, asking “what if” questions rather than embracing “what is”. Revisit Days help us lift out of this self-absorbed pattern as we reflect on who we are within the the context of our lives at Proctor and the imperfection that surrounds us. We become ultra-focused on the moment, a beautiful gift of self-reflection and authenticity we are rarely granted in this fast paced, image conscious world society has created.
Tomorrow, 62 accepted students and their parents will attend the first of our two Admissions Revisit Days. It will be an incredibly busy day as families attend assembly, visitors shadow classes, parents attend breakout workshops, and our current students share about their Proctor experience through panel discussions. Our unabashed goal is to present the best of Proctor, and at the same time we have the deepest desire for each visiting family to experience the authentic Proctor. This blog is for those visiting parents. It is a message as their family makes the very, very difficult decision about where they want to spend their high school years.
Patches of grass have begun to emerge around campus where the persistent late-March sun has repeatedly beat away at layer upon layer of snow. Pathways are swept, sand recycled to be used again next winter, playing fields plowed for the spring season. Mother Nature probably has one more snow storm in her, but our sights are firmly set on spring. As we prepare to turn the calendar to April, we are reminded of the rebirth that takes place this time of year and the opportunity for a fresh start for each of our students.
A week ago, a group of prospective students received notification of their acceptance to Proctor. Dozens of families have already submitted their contracts for next year; Proctor was their #1 choice and the fit between their son or daughter and our school was perfect. For the vast majority of our accepted students, the decision is not that easy. Proctor is one of a number of schools to which they were accepted, each offering amazing programs and filled with talented educators who care deeply about their work and their school. So how does Proctor stand out from the crowd? How do we ensure prospective families fully appreciate and understand the depth of the Proctor experience when weighing their options?
In this age of technology, we are processing the constant flow of information, the next notification, the next piece of news to break, soaking up the dopamine of the never-ending scroll our social media provides. Within this world of insatiable, ever present content, we forget the feeling of excitement and anticipation that accompanies awaiting. Delayed gratification is a good thing! For the roughly 175 students who have been admitted, the waiting is over!
Little by little the days are getting longer. This week’s sun and warmer temperatures have buoyed our spirits and put a noticeable bounce in everyone’s step. Overnight rain and ice reminded us how closely tied our emotional state can be to the barometric pressure. As we look toward the final three and a half weeks of the Winter Term, we lean into the scaffolding of support that surrounds each of us at Proctor.
Front and center on our website is the tagline “Customize Your Experience”. The breadth and depth of Proctor’s offerings allow each student to pursue a wholly unique Proctor journey, but have we over-personalized Proctor? Have we focused so heavily on catering to each student’s needs that we have forgotten the individual’s responsibility to others and to the community? How do we simultaneously live the values of “TOGETHER” and “Customize Your Experience” and appreciate the lessons that live in both.