Starting school as a new boarding student is a big deal. You’re in a new school, surrounded by lots of potential new friends, living away from your parents and experiencing life in a brand new city.
Sure, some of that may sound daunting at first, but coming to boarding school is one of the best life experiences.
We asked six veteran boarding students – the six Grade 12 students who were elected heads of our boarding houses for the 2016-17 school year – to offer up their advice to new boarding students to ensure you have a great year!
Here are their six tips for new boarding students:
“Right away start talking with people. And talk to as many people as you can. Even if you’re shy, try it out because everyone is really friendly and you’ll make lots of friends. Get involved as much as you can, too: intramurals, arts, join a team, go to the fitness centre – whatever you want to do. I made friends by joining a group of people playing soccer on the field.”
– Walid Basher, Qatar, Head of Barnacle House
“Make sure you use the agenda you get in homeroom. You have lots of chances to try new things, and it can be really difficult balancing your time for homework, boarding activities, sports and clubs. Listing everything you need to do helps you see how many things you have to do in the next week or month. It also helps you see when you’re really busy and might need a break.”
– Jasmine Yu, China, Head of Timmis House
“Your room is your most special place on campus because it’s your space, and you want to be able to enjoy it. Problems with your roommate can happen if you don’t work together. Talk about what they like and what you like so you don’t annoy each other. Don’t do something you wouldn’t want done to you, like being loud when they’re sleeping or playing your music really loud. Be considerate of each other.”
– Emilio Macario, Mexico, Head of Harvey House
“It sounds hypocritical because everyone in boarding knows I’m not good at following this advice, but prep is so important. You don’t want to be that person who has to wake up early in the morning to do homework because you wasted your prep time. It is actually really nice having a set time for homework because the house is really quiet and everyone’s working.”
– Tireny Wuraola, Canada, Head of Symons House
“Especially if it’s a new city for you, go out with a returning boarding or day student to help you make friends and know your way around. They know which buses to take and they can show you around and take you to the best restaurants and stores.”
– Philippe Welter, United States, Head of Bolton House
“One of the best parts about coming to boarding school is having the independence and ability to make decisions for myself. Do I want to leave campus? Do I want to go out for dinner with my friends? Do I want to do my homework? I figured if I can be responsible in how I make decisions, my mom and the houseparents can trust me more.”
– Leah Sparkman, United States, Head of Winslow House