A Pleasant Return to Groton

A little more than two weeks ago, when I arrived on campus a day earlier than everyone else, it was peaceful to have a few days off of classes to relax and rearrange my dorm room. My roommate Lucas ’21 was virtual during the fall term, so I had all my stuff scattered all over, taking up the whole space. After finding out that he had decided to come back, I rushed to partition a clean and tidy half for him. 

With Lucas and a few other guys back, we almost have our full dorm present on campus. During times like these, it’s been nice for the freshmen to have a support structure through all five of their prefects, who are now all on campus. 

A week after everyone settled in, winter activities started back up again. Similar to the fall, every Groton student participates in two afternoon activities: one on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays, and Saturdays, and another one on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This model differs from past years at Groton, where students have only had time allocated during the week for one after-class activity. I’m incredibly grateful for this new model because I’ve been able to play tennis on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our tennis coach, Señor Conner, said that we are witnessing history as this is the first time in Groton’s existence that the tennis program has operated during the fall and winter seasons. 

As much as I would love to be playing tennis every day, it just isn’t possible. So, when I saw badminton as a new sports offering for the remaining four days during the week, I jumped on it. Growing up, I played the sport regularly, both recreationally and competitively. In my opinion, it’s such an underrated sport that is really fun to play and can be quite an intense workout when you’re up against other talented players. Through our practices so far, I have developed a new love and appreciation for the sport. 

Back in the dorm, chess has grown in popularity. Before check-ins, it has become quite common to find two guys on the chessboard and a few others analyzing the game. Over the past two months, I’ve witnessed chess have a considerable rise in popularity among my friends. I can see so many people who were previously making fun of the seemingly boring game now researching various openings and end-game strategies. Without a doubt, this rise in popularity can entirely be attributed to Netflix’s miniseries, The Queen’s Gambit, which has revived chess’s vogue among the younger generations. 

Through keeping my head up during these unprecedented times, I’ve seen many positive things come out of the current circumstances. I’ve picked up badminton and chess as two new hobbies that I probably wouldn’t have considered in a typical year. Having tennis practices in the fall and winter has also been a huge plus. Ultimately, seeing and focusing on the good in any given situation has made this year at Groton as good as any other for me. Keeping an open mind and embracing change are the qualities that have allowed me to enjoy every single day that I spend on the Circle.