Building Lasting Friendships is Intrinsic to Boarding Life


This is the second part in a series of candid blogs written by our 2014-15 Best School Year Ever winners on the Good, the Bad and the Surprising of their boarding experience at SMUS.


by Alessandra Massa

When applying to the Best School Year Ever contest, it is important to think about what your life would look like as a boarder and how you will adapt to living away from home. Adapting to living away from home and my day-to-day life at SMUS have been much more different than what I imagined they would be like. It was much easier to transition into boarding than I expected, all thanks to the amazing house parents and boarding friends (especially those in your boarding house). Here is just a small list of the many amazing things I have experienced thanks to boarding at SMUS.

As a resident of Symons House, I have been boarding since early September. I love my roommate, Aline, a Grade 12 student from the Yukon who is passionate about science and medicine. Having a roommate is so much more than just sharing a room with a classmate. I could not imagine adjusting to the day-to-day boarding schedule without the help of my roommate. Aline is the head of Symons House and has been really helpful in answering any questions I have about classes, house activities or anything SMUS related because she has been going to the school since Grade 10. She was also a large part of me joining the field hockey team because she has been playing on the senior team and shared stories with me about how fun and rewarding field hockey is for her.

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I like the structure of daily scheduled quiet time when I can plan to do my homework and focus on my studies. I have appreciated and taken advantage of having my teachers in such close proximity and being able to study with fellow boarders. Walking to class is an unexpected pleasure, especially when it comes to maximizing my breaks to get my homework done. I enjoy Thursday nights when we usually have a house meeting and share snacks.

I love the camaraderie of my fellow Symons House boarders. I love the way the boarders interact with our community through active community service, where we grow closer as a boarding house, a boarding community and as a part of the greater community in Victoria. I really enjoyed participating in the local 5K run, the leaf rake and I look forward to more opportunities to represent boarding out in our community. On Saturdays the house parents take a group of girls to a local shelter or food pantry to serve food, which is something I really look forward to, especially as my American Thanksgiving approaches, which is a time when I enjoy helping others who are less fortunate.

I cannot say enough great things about the cultural diversity that I experience in boarding. Back in Texas, when I think of diversity, I think of differences in colour, which is something I rarely experienced. Knowing that so many kids from so many countries apply to SMUS, where they know they will receive an outstanding education, is a wonderful commonality to share. Building friendships with like-minded students who come from all walks of life and corners of the earth is not only inspiring, but also a window into what my future might look like.

Living in Symons House has given me so many more opportunities to connect with and experience the cultures of my fellow boarders. Whether it’s sharing traditions, learning about foods, or experiencing different viewpoints and ways of processing information, being around so many different cultures has broadened my world views. Learning about the challenge of safety on the streets in Sao Paulo from a Brazilian boarder or watching my boarding community support fellow Best School Year Ever winner Santiago Mazoy after learning of a hurricane that damaged Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where he has family, I appreciate that our differences are what make a boarding education at SMUS so rewarding.

Learn more about our 2015-16 Best School Year Ever video contest, with $70,000 in boarding scholarships up for grabs.


Last week, Best School Year Ever runner-up Silke Kuhn wrote about what she loves about being a SMUS boarding student.


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