Nicola, Senior

“The one thing that really makes Andover stand out is that there’s no end to what you’re offered.”

Nicola is a dual-sport athlete (soccer and lacrosse) from Wallingford, CT. She’s embraced the post-graduate experience by trying as many things as possible and focusing on the fall soccer season. Dorm life has quickly become her favorite part of Andover, and she quickly made friends thanks to her senior-specific classes and numerous social opportunities. As she prepares to play soccer at the next level, Nicola is approaching her year at Andover with an open mind, excited to learn. “I feel very lucky to be able to try so many things at Andover before college,” she says. “I’m looking forward to the things that I’m not expecting.” Here’s a look at her typical Monday.

Wake Up | 7:30 a.m.

Nicola’s dorm is in Flagstaff cluster—the most central on campus—so she can wake up, head to Paresky Commons for breakfast if she wants, and make it to Benner House for her first period pottery class.

Period 1 | 8:30 - 9:10 a.m.

Art 302: Clay and the Ancestral Pot // Instructor: Thayer Zaeder ’83
This course explores ceramics from a variety of perspectives, including archaeology, geology, and studio art. As a studio class, students will experiment with a range of hand-building techniques while answering studio assignments. The aesthetics of form and surface will be a principle focus. In addition, this class will investigate clay from the perspective of geology, archaeology, and human evolution. Visits to examine the Peabody Institute of Archaeology’s collection will offer historical context and a rich array of objects to frame class discussions and assignments. In Term 1, a field component will take students out into the environment to source and dig their own clay.

Period 2 | 9:20 - 10 a.m.

English 495: Strangers in a Strange Land // Instructor: Deborah Chase
This course for one-year students explores how strangers adapt to new places and new modes of being. Does one reinvent oneself, conquer the new, or seamlessly assimilate? Works considered have included: Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, poems by Terrance Hayes and Emily Dickinson, and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.

Aside from pottery class, Nicola enjoys spending time in the studio. “I really enjoy spending time there, especially in the evenings or on weekends,” she says. “It's pretty peaceful place.”

Conference Period | 10:05 - 10:45 a.m.

Depending on the day or workload of her week, Nicola will use conference period to meet with her teachers for extra help, or hang out in the library. On nice days she’ll walk with friends into town and grab a coffee.

Period 3 | 10:50 - 11:30 a.m.

This is free time for Nicola. She’ll usually work on any assignments that are due, or spend time socializing with friends.

Period 4 | 11:40 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

Nicola grabs lunch in lower right of Paresky Commons with friends. Her favorite food at the dining hall: oatmeal cookies that are worthy of group text notifications.

The one thing that really makes Andover stand out is that there’s no end to what you’re offered, whether academic, athletic, or just the human connections that you can make here. I’m looking forward to all the things that I’m not expecting.


Period 5 | 12:30 - 1:10 p.m.

Computer Science 350: Programming Fundamentals // Instructor: Joel Jacob
This course begins with an introduction to computational thinking, potentially including programming in a block-based language such as Scratch, and then moves to programming in Python, JavaScript, Processing, or another text-based programming language. Students will learn about variables, functions, conditional statements (if-else), and iterations (loops), and will design and code their own programming projects. The course may include additional units such as programming Finch robots or performing introductory data analysis using SQL.

Period 6 | 1:20 - 2 p.m.

History 495: Senior Research and Writing Seminar // Instructor: Tom Fritz
This course emphasizes the skills needed to successfully complete Andover’s upper-level history electives. It will share with other humanities classes an interest in how language and evidence are used—and misused—to make arguments. Our primary focus will be learning how to research and write persuasive essays and papers, and we will benefit from frequent visits and access to the campus’s Oliver Wendell Holmes Library. This course is organized around a series of contemporary themes: the duties and obligations of citizens in the 21st century, global poverty, human rights, and war and peace.

In Physics 420, students build a working robot and test their creations in a competition at the end of the term.

Period 7 | 2:10 - 2:50 p.m.

Physics 420: Robotics // Instructor: Carol Artacho Guerra
This course is open only to postgraduates in the fall and is open to all students in the winter and spring. Students wishing to take Robotics for multiple terms may do so with the permission of the instructor. Students will create an independent robot capable of complex behavior by the end of the term while exploring all the different aspects of robot design and how they come together in the creation of a robot, including ethical and cultural elements surrounding the use of artificial intelligence. A hands-on, project-based course, students will use the engineering process to engage in science-driven decision making, and review physical concepts involved in the design and construction of a robot.

Athletics | 3 - 4:50 p.m.

Nicola is a member of Andover’s Girls’ Varsity Soccer team with plans of playing at the next level. Nicola says Coach Lisa Joel was a big influence on her decision to attend Andover, and that her teammates have been great at helping her adjust to life on campus. Julia Rafferty ’10, assistant Tufts University soccer coach, also made an impression with her own praise of Andover. She not only helped convince Nicola that a PG year at Andover would be a great experience, but also sold her on committing to Tufts, where she’ll attend next year.

Nicola dribbles up field against Exeter.

Dorm life is probably my favorite part [of Andover]. I like the girls in my dorm a lot, and my roommate is just the best.


5 - 11 p.m.

Most nights Nicola will go to dinner with the soccer team then head back to her dorm to complete her work and hang out with friends. She loves the freedom of being able to walk downtown for ice cream and says that you can never be bored on campus with so much constantly going on.

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