Midnight feasts, bunk beds, horseplay, idyllic surroundings, and getting to spend all your time with friends … Boarding school does sound so much fun! But hold on a minute.You just might’ve read too many Enid Blytons. Reality might not be as palatable. It might even be a rude shock and put you off the experience altogether. Hard to believe? How about asking some experienced hands? No, don’t get carried away by the tales of practical jokes, matches won in sheer glory, and all that. Wait for some time and the not-so-cool parts should come out. Bad food and not enough of it, bullying seniors and even teachers, pocket money that’s never enough … umm need we say more?
So how about some real think so you’ll be prepared for all the downs and thus be better able to enjoy the ups?
Firstly no school will be as clean as home. No one will be around to bother about you. Sounds like bliss? Well wait till you get late for class and your uniform hasn’t been washed forget ironed and your shoes aren’t polished and your books can’t be found and no mom, grandparent, sibling, servant to scream at … get the picture?
The best favour you can do yourself would be to make a vow right away that you are going to be responsible for yourself. Start keeping track of your own life. Think about what you want to do and go ahead and do it. Papa and Mummy aren’t going to be around to tell you which club to join and when to study.
Choose your friends very carefully. Once you are seen to be associated with a gang it will be very difficult to get in to a different crowd. Take your time. Get to know different people and then decide. A tip – be wary of anyone who seems over eager to be friends with you. He/she is probably unpopular and wants to monopolise the new kid before the others get to him/her.
When it comes to bullying, play by the ear. Watch how others are dealing with it. It might not be advisable to run to the authorities at the first opportunity. You might get in to worse trouble, be ostracised and labeled ‘tattle tale’. But if things get out of hand, and physical abuse comes in don’t wait to tell your teacher. If that doesn’t help, go to the Principal. It’s okay even if they call your parents. Going home is better than being the target of some nasty, screwed up thugs.
And this applies to teachers too. If you feel a particular teacher is being unreasonably abusive, and worse, is targetting you, don’t be afraid to speak up. Chances are other students also have problems with him/her. So you’ll get a sympathetic hearing at the very least.
The food will be bad. But eat up. Starving will only set you up for misery, homesickness and low energy that will prevent you from taking part in games, and pranks not to mention homework.
And do your homework even though Mummy isn’t around to keep an eye on you. Being good in class will ensure that your classmates look up to you. Moreover you’ll be in your teachers’ good books and they will be ever willing to ignore occasional indiscretions.
Try your hand at any and every extra-curricular activity that takes your fancy. Don’t hold back because you are afraid that the others would be better than you. Chances are they won’t be. Even if they are, they aren’t going to eat you up. Your best memories of boarding school will consist of the hours you spend outside the classroom.So chin up and all the best!