Reflecting back on my childhood/teenage years, I realised that being a "boarder" or a boarding school student helped me become who I am today and also made me grow up a lot faster than the other kids my age. Whilst my peers were busy with the high school drama and love stories, I was busy figuring out what am I to become and constantly trying not to let my parents down. I felt a lot of responsibility on my shoulders representing my family and graduating with the best grades. And when I was caught in detention or when my A-Levels came back with low grades - it was the end of the world for me. It felt like the entire world was crushing. My friends didn't share the same priorities.
Of course, it depends on your story line. How does one end up in a boarding school? In my case, it was to ensure my safety and give me a good solid education - both of which were achieved. I knew that my parents were there for me anytime I needed them and yet with time I grew accustomed to making my own choices, decisions and live the life I now have created. Of course, as a boarding student, you keep your emotions to yourself - if you feel upset or lonely, you only share that with your closest friends and for the rest of the world you put on a brave face and a smile. Like nothing happened.
For a very long time, I wanted to go back to my childhood back home and feel a kid again. And then that dream was replaced by flying away so far away that no one can reach me and start my life from scratch again. Honestly, sometimes that feeling is still there.
Your teenage years are different when you are at a boarding schools, you develop a strong will power and you encounter things like betrayal, dishonesty, heartbreak - earlier than your peers. You also learn a lot about confrontation and problem solving. Sometimes, you wish you were just a normal kid around your family.
You also start developing budgeting skills - as you have to learn how to control the money that you have and then remember that it is not yours in the first place. Living in a boarding schools you meet people from different cultures and your social awareness is much higher than that of your parents', sometimes.
And then that moment when you finally feel comfortable at school and with your friends you have to choose a pathway for yourself that will define you for the rest of your life - or so it may feel. Just like any child you family pushes you to choose what they consider the right pathway for you. I made the mistake of listening to them for various reasons. Do not get me wrong, at the end, I am more than happy with my choice, yet a part of me still thinks I had missed out by not choosing creative writing as my college major.
As a boarding school student, you grow up quicker than your peers. You see the world differently after that. Everything in life then becomes relative to you and you learn to keep your calm even in the strongest of storms.
When you are a Boarding School student, without even realising this, you are building a large network of contacts that you will keep for your lifetime. Whether you become best friends with your peers or just nod and smile to them while passing in the hallways, one day in the future you will meet them and you will never know where this interaction will get you.
You will definitely have a few of the following experiences:
1. Best Friend: you will meet someone and become best friends for life. Life will throw obstacles and challenges your way and yet you will always find that you will be there for each other no matter what.
2. A friend that invites you to their wedding: you will definitely have a few friends that you will keep in touch with who will then invite you to their wedding.
3. You will always have a place to stay in any part of the world because there will be someone you know from high school.
4. You will also know students from the neighbouring boarding schools and share more common friends and expand your network.
5. One day, you may find yourself working with someone you went to high school with even if you have not heard from them in a while.
6. One day you will meet someone who went to the same high school as you but graduated earlier or later than you and will find out that the strong sense of community and boarding school spirit remains with you regardless of your graduation date.
7. You will probably know more people around the world than a non-boarding school student.
1. You learn to share: and I don't mean just your notes, hidden cookies or video games. I mean you learn how to share and schedule shower times, dinner time chores, responsibility for common mistakes, etc.
2. Sleepovers are not a given: to be able to have a slumber party in your friends room over the weekend you have to earn - it's not a given!!
3. Friendships last forever: friends you make in a boarding school will stay with you forever. 10 years of friendship with my best friend and counting!! Wouldn't have it any other way!!
4. We are family: when your classmates become your family and you see them more often that you actual brothers and sisters!
5. You learn how to be creative: creativity is something you catch really quickly as a student in a boarding school as you look for excuses for late homework, late lights out, why you skipped study time, etc
6. You don't have to wake up extremely early: why bother if the school is only a few floors down? If you think that's convenient, think again.
7. Missing your family: This when you realize that there's no place like home.