Day student life at boarding school is like the best of both worlds. When I tell people that I attended a local private school for high school, they always ask me, “did you board?” My response is always the same: “I was kind of like a boarding student who slept at home.” The truth is, other than where I slept at night and the fact that I wasn’t limited to the bounds of campus like boarders, as a day student I had every opportunity to get involved in boarding school life and more. Don’t believe me? Here are a few highlights from my own experiences with day student life at boarding school:
I could participate in evening & weekend activities
Even though I wasn’t a boarder, I was still always welcomed to participate in evening and weekend events. Whether there was a hypnotist on campus or we had the chance to go off campus for white water rafting or to take on a local ropes course, there was always something to do. Special concerts and poetry readings by Maya Angelou? Yep, those were options. Head to the theater and museums in Boston or New York City for a day? Absolutely. If you compare public high school and boarding school experiences for me, there’s no doubt in my mind that boarding school opened an entirely new realm of possibilities for me to get involved in activities.
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I made friends from around the world
If you flip through my boarding school yearbook, you’ll see a wide sampling of cultures and backgrounds. Coming from a public school environment where the diversity was minimal at best, I was excited to have the opportunity to make friends with people from around the world. Often times, boarders from other countries can't travel home for vacations, and as a day student, I was able to invite a friend from Nigeria to spend Thanksgiving with me and my family. Sharing my family’s holiday traditions and how we lived with someone from an entirely different background was a meaningful experience.
I could sleep over the dorm
Being a day student at boarding school was the best of both worlds. I could get permission to sleep over on dorm for a night if I wanted to, often when there was a late night activity or evening study group. This gave me a taste of life on dorm.
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I learned independence and time management
While boarders have to learn to manage their newfound independence being away from home, so do day students. We also had to manage our time on campus and know how long we could stay in the evening before we needed to get home to get our homework done. After a few late nights doing homework because I chose to stay on campus late to hang out with friends instead of driving home to start my homework, I realized that I needed to manage a realistic schedule of work, home, and fun with friends.
I could have a car
Once I got my license, I was able to have a car on campus. This gave me more freedom in when I arrived and left, and gave me the option to even go off campus during free periods (a privilege my high school granted to senior day students). But, with every benefit comes more responsibility, which taught me more life lessons pertaining to independence and time management. If I left campus, I had to make sure I signed out and made it back in time for my next class. Having a car also meant I needed to manage getting myself out of the house on my own, especially when I had free periods in the morning and could sleep in a little later. I had to make sure I was up and on the road in time for school, account for potential traffic, keep my gas tank full (and manage my money to afford gas), and of course, make the necessary coffee stops.
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