The Best and Worst of the Best For All Agreement

I pride myself on the fact that I am a moral, well-intentioned, and law-abiding citizen; I do not jaywalk, I rarely exceed the speed limit, and I never litter.

I pride myself on the fact that I am a moral, well-intentioned, and law-abiding citizen; I do not jaywalk, I rarely exceed the speed limit, and I never litter. I am no scofflaw, and thus, I was shocked when I received not one, but two BFA strikes within the short span of this past April. Although the Best for All Agreement is, presumably, effective in ensuring the health of the School and our wider community, the agreement is stifling and, at times, very difficult to follow. Between the demands of classes, clubs, and sports, there were a few days this term on which I didn’t even have time to grab lunch, let alone jog across campus to drop off a bottle of my saliva. Thus, I faced the negative consequences of violating the Best for All Agreement, and my good name and character were sullied with strikes. Although the rigidity of the Best For All Agreement frustrates me, I have discovered a few silver linings within the agreement. So, here they are: Presenting The Best and The Worst of BFA.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. In addition to introducing many new inconveniences into our busy lives, the worst of the Best For All Agreement lies in the fact that it propagates lying within the student body and thus is slowly but surely corrupting the entire Lawrenceville community. Every morning, every member of the Lawrenceville community is required to log into Sentinel to fill out a “Covid-Safe Pass” that monitors their symptoms. This practice has much use, as it reduces the likelihood that someone infected with Covid-19 might expose other members of the School community to the virus. I am grateful that the School took the time to design such a practice that keeps us safe; however, every morning, I feel a pang of anger and shame when I must assess one symptom in particular: fatigue. Since the very first minute that I entered Lawrenceville’s gates, I have been fatigued. Lawrenceville is, by nature, an extremely demanding and exhausting place. Over the course of my three years at this school, I have grown to appreciate the sounds of casual walking-down-the-hallway banter: “I am so exhausted; I stayed up all night finishing my essay,” followed by the inevitable, “You think you’re tired?! I haven’t slept in a week!” Exhaustion at Lawrenceville is unavoidable, and I think it’s fair to say that every student is, at all times, experiencing new or worsening symptoms of fatigue. Nonetheless, in order to attend class in person, we must state not only that we are nowhere near collapsing from exhaustion but that we, in fact, are not experiencing any fatigue whatsoever. Therefore, every time you pass a fellow student, you are, in reality, looking at the face of a liar. However, it is not the student’s fault; the system made us this way! In order to attend our classes in-person and escape solitary confinement in our bedrooms, we must surrender our morals, slap some concealer over our undereye bags, and lie. Therefore, by forcing students to deny their exhaustion in order to attend classes, the Covid Safe Passes (and, by extension, the Best for All Agreement) is raising a generation of pseudologues.

However, there is some good that lies in the Best For All Agreement. During my first two years at Lawrenceville, I often experienced FOMO, or the fear of missing out. Every afternoon and evening, I had to choose between secluding myself to do work or socializing on campus. When I prioritized homework over spending time with my friends, I was sadly subjected to FOMO. However, thanks to the Best For All Agreement, I no longer experience this feeling! I no longer worry about missing fun all-school dances or the gossip that will be spilled in Kirby House room 201, for socially distant all-school-dances are not fun, and my friends and I are not allowed to gather in dorm rooms! When you know that no one is having fun, you never feel like you are missing out.

Even better, the Best For All Agreement has done wonders for my body. Thanks to the no-eating-in-academic-buildings policy and my frequent sprinting across campus to drop off my Covid-19 test before the testing tent closes, I have never looked better!

Finally, the BFA agreement makes me feel a little less alone. In an unpredictable world, it is nice to be able to rely on receiving an 8:00am “Good Morning” text from the Duty App reminding me to fill out my symptom tracker. Even if the Covid Safe Pass is corrupting me, it is nice to know that it cares how I am doing.

Although I am excited to bid adieu to the Best for All Agreement, I am grateful for its existence, as it allowed our community to reunite in-person for the Fall and Spring Terms. I am optimistic about a BFA-less future; however, until then, I have my fingers crossed that I will not receive a third strike and become placed on censure during this home stretch to the end of the year.

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