The start of each school year rapidly shifts from a universal experience (Wilderness Orientation) to a highly individualized one (classes, afternoon activities, advisories, dorms) for students. We are three days into the academic schedule, and within each area of life, students are starting to figure out a rhythm to the school year.
When we truly commit to something, we deeply invest ourselves in it. We see a greater purpose in our work, in our connections, in the lifting of each other up. We see an application of our mission, not just a lofty statement that supposedly guides us. Through little, daily actions, we show others what it means to be a part of a community, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
On Wilderness Orientation, you never know what you might encounter and what you probably will need to get yourself through. A mountain of sand and gravel awaited our group as we entered the Willey Station Road parking lot off of Route 302, which was under repair. We retrieved all of our gear from the bus that then had to back down the trailhead road. Stuffed to the gills, we put on our heavy packs, adjusting straps and awaiting our turn in line to make the heavy climb up the trail on a very busy Labor Day Weekend.
From the earliest moments of parenthood, we learn that life will be filled with contradictions of independence. We simultaneously want them to stay little forever, and we want to never change another diaper. We want to protect our children, and want them to see the world. Competing emotions weave themselves together into an irreplicable sort of love that helps us find a place like Proctor where our children will spread their wings and find themselves, even though we know saying goodbye is so, so hard.
Proctor’s Day Student Picnic held Wednesday evening marks the “official” start of the school year as it is the first time students are on campus. Seeing smiling faces and the contagious energy of adolescents back on campus reminded us that they are the final piece of the puzzle that enables the Proctor magic to flow.
Research shows, and we believe deeply, that when a student feels known and understood, they will have a stronger sense of belonging, will be more confident, more motivated and hardworking, will develop a stronger sense of self and will contribute more in a community. In an environment that is predictable and supportive, young people will thrive.
Despite volatile fuel prices, varied access to clean water, fresh fruits, vegetables, and grain, for most of us, our most scarce commodity is time. Competing responsibilities constantly claw away at it until we are left with precious few minutes of time for intentional allocation. With mid-August’s arrival, educators and students around the country experience an amplified sense of time scarcity as summer bucket lists feel just a bit more urgent.
This week, we are in the midst of conversations with a group of young alumni for our upcoming edition of the Proctor Magazine. Each of these alumni are entering the heart of their career. Some are in health care, others working for nonprofits, others teaching, and yet others running startups. While their experiences and career paths vary, they uniformly assert that Proctor served a powerful role in shaping who they are as adults.