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As my fingers move across the keyboard on my laptop, I find myself periodically glancing at the gold ring on my right hand engraved with the Lawrenceville seal, the Hamill House emblem, and the number 11. These days, my peers often grab my hand and point to the ring. They then jokingly ask if I am married. While I tend to chuckle and inform them that a wedding band is traditionally worn on the left hand, a wave of nostalgia suddenly hits me. I do not mean to suggest casual reminiscence of memories from my years at Lawrenceville, but rather a genuine reflection on a place that I have come to appreciate more than ever before.
Lawrenceville was a lifestyle for me. It was a lifestyle that nurtured my growth as a human being in almost every way imaginable—intellectually, physically, socially. This is something that my mere fourteen-year-old brain could not comprehend as a freshman. At the time, I mostly wanted to attend Lawrenceville because my older brother had the opportunity to do so. Other than the fact that going to Lawrenceville seemed like an attractive prospect, I really had no reason not to attend public school. But now that I have graduated and am fully immersed in college life, I realize that my superficial desire to attend Lawrenceville was crucial to my ensuing development as an individual.
Let me begin with the Harkness Table. On more than one occasion, especially during my senior year, I would sit at the oval-shaped wooden table and my thoughts would wander away from the class discussion. Every time I attend my expository writing class here at Harvard, however, I yearn for Mr. Atlee’s class where he pulled out an antique gun when making a point about the American West and the challenge put forth by Ms. McKay to suspend disbelief. Only now do I wish I had listened more carefully at Harkness Table and grumbled less about the essays I had to write.
I long for the two hours of water polo practice that I used to occasionally view as burden, particularly when I felt exhausted or was overwhelmed with papers and exams. My athletic commitments at Lawrenceville not only made me more aware of my mind and body, but provided me with unforgettable camaraderie. Sometimes when I finish classes in the afternoon, I imagine jumping into the cool water of the pool with a group of boys, some of whom would become my closest friends.
And then, there is The Lawrence. I do not think I have quite accepted that my Wednesday and Thursday nights will never be the same. There was too much Brooklyn pizza from TJs, malfunctioning computers, frantic editing, but most importantly, a sense of accomplishment and pride for something we could truly call our own. It may sound slightly strange, but since I graduated, I have carried a photograph of Mr. Robbins in my wallet. Mr. Robbins epitomizes what I miss most about Lawrenceville—a community that fosters a sense of belonging, compassion, and unparalleled investment in every single student. This, I will cherish forever.
And so, if I ever do purchase a Harvard class ring, I think I will choose to wear my Lawrenceville one instead.
- Prateek Agarwal ’11