May 26, 2020

The Workshop: Ogden ’20’s Mid-Term Reflection

A look into the life of a boarding school student during the COVID-19 pandemic
by Ogden ’20, Workshop student

The Workshop at Andover is an immersive term-long learning experience. Spring-term seniors stop all traditional academic courses and instead work closely with peers and faculty on a series of linked, interdisciplinary projects that revolve around a single subject. This term the subject is Community, Class, and Carbon.

The following is a student reflection from the midpoint of the program. (Also read Yeetang ’20's mid-term reflection.)


Ogden ’20 is working hard in his spring 2020 workspace, aka the living room in his apartment in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I am currently writing from my mother’s apartment in the eastern side of Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital and metropolis. I haven’t left in 24 days and I shall most likely remain here for multiple weeks to come. After observing the increasing pace of the spread of the coronavirus, most hopes of finishing off the 2020 spring break were cut short. I arrived in Buenos Aires on March 15 and began serving a federally mandated 2-week quarantine. A few days into the second half of my self-isolation, the Argentine government issued a national quarantine for all citizens until April 13, 2020. I can’t speak the same for my peers in New York, Seattle, and East Asia, but I feel relatively safe as the situation seems to have been handled reasonably well here in comparison to many other countries across the globe.

Throughout the past week, we made the switch to exclusively online learning due to the extreme situations caused by the pandemic. It has been very interesting to see how our Workshop community transitioned from our extended spring breaks into our learning gears so rapidly and with so much going on in the world. I managed to shift my extremely off-balanced sleeping schedule so I would be able to include advisory Zoom calls in the morning and cluster council Zoom calls at night, in accordance with the Eastern U.S. time zone.

In order to facilitate our return to our normal weekly/working routines, we have been tasked with “rituals” to complete on a daily basis. We have committed to filming morning greetings every day on Flipgrid and writing out our daily work schedules on an application called Slack. The morning videos have been a great way to see and communicate with everyone in our learning community as well as a medium for recording and storing our thoughts each and every day. These daily rituals have created somewhat of a regular working schedule in my daily routine and have eased the transition to remote learning despite the irregular circumstances.

For our first overarching project, we are tasked with producing an artifact of our communities during this global crisis. After completing a reading titled Imagined Communities, I was able to think a lot about what an artifact might be. I began to construct the idea that an artifact can be seen as a primary source that could potentially be used in the future as a research tool for reflections upon this time period. One way of creating a primary source comes through conducting interviews and gathering intel on what people in our communities are thinking during this historical and prolonged pandemic. I have been in contact with a few peers and fellow members of the Workshop to brainstorm who these individuals might be, what questions should be asked, and what we aim to extract from these interviews.

Indeed, it has been an odd time to be a boarding school senior, but during times of crisis, the opportunity emerges to pioneer new methods of coordinated research and “distance” learning.


To learn more about the Workshop, read Tang Institute Director Andy Housiaux's recent update here.


*We look forward to updating you on the ways we are (re)imagining the Workshop, our connection with students, and our approaches to teaching and learning. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, Notes on Learning.

Categories: The Workshop, Featured

Other Stories

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: The Work Ahead

Helping students understand the historical and social factors around race, inequality, and injustice

SYNAPSE Step #4 – Associate

Connect new ideas to what you already know