My Time at Boarding School: A Case Study
Students who are about to begin boarding school are often both excited about the forthcoming experience and scared about what to expect. One of the best ways to find out more about the boarding lifestyle, for both prospective boarders and their parents, friends and family, is to talk to current boarders at the school you are looking at. Each boarding school has its own rules, expectations, opportunities and facilities and no one will be better able to relate these than the students themselves. With that in mind, here Sonja, who attended a UK secondary boarding school from the age of 11 until 18, discusses her time there. She offers the proviso that this is her own, individual experience and personal view.
About MeHi, I'm Sonja and I'm now a second-year university student but I spent seven years of my (secondary) education at a small boarding school, based in the British countryside. My parents live abroad and I didn't want to move away from the UK, so we all decided that boarding would be the best option when I turned 11.
Making the DecisionJust because it was a shared decision between my parents and I, don't think that I didn't get scared before I started boarding school! I was worried about moving away, finding it cliquey, and losing my privacy. Plus little concerns about the food quality, bedtimes, and things like that. But luckily, I didn't have too many problems. I think partly this is because I had visited the school so many times before hand (four or five times, to help me settle in) so I knew the layout. Also all the students were new, the school only started at age 11, so we all felt the same in the early days. At first, you might feel homesick, as I did, but boarding schools are experienced at helping you to get over that. There's so much to do at the start, what with sorting out books, decorating rooms and meeting teachers, that there's no time to be upset.
A Sample DayBoarding school is like any other school, there are routines that you quickly learn to follow. Some are stricter than others, mine wasn't that strict, but in any case most become more free with students as they go up the school. We'd have to be ready for breakfast by 8, so would have time to wash and dress before then. I shared a room until year 9, when I had my own. That worried me at first, but it's actually really nice, and I missed having a room mate so much in the holidays! Breakfast was normally cereal and toast or eggs, and assembly would be afterwards, at 9. Then we had 40 minute long lessons, in all the normal subjects, until lunchtime, which was followed by another set of three 40-minute lessons.
Then, the official learning day was over and we got to take advantage of something that's so rare in other schools - incredible facilities. We could do endless sport, and so many other options, including music, chess, art, IT, cooking and so on. We had prep time for homework too in the evenings, but as we went up the school this became less structured, although we always had to do it.