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E d u c a t i o n M a t t e r s Education Matters

Being a Boarder by Dan Conant

D 24

an is now in the 6th form. He started at Monmouth School as a RAF boarder 4 years ago. His parents are in Saudi.

To sum up boarding school in a couple of words is not possible. In my opinion, boarding school is not a process that can be easily reversed once started: Once a boarder, always a boarder.

It came as a shock to my parents when I said I would rather be a boarder than a day pupil. This may come as a surprise to some people, but I feel it is a statement many boarders will agree with. I find it hard to imagine what it would be like to be a day boy again, simply because going home after every school day would take most of the interest out of school for me.

I’m now in 6th form, having boarded for four years at Monmouth School and I can not see why people would not want to board if given the opportunity. Not only does it mean that you are closer to school and all the activities that are associated with it, but boarding also gives you the freedom that many teenagers crave. I think

Spring 2008

it is this independence that makes it easy to separate boarders from day pupils. Let’s put it this way; the boarders won’t be the ones homesick on their first night of university away from their parents.

Boarding is fun, it’s time spent with your friends and people you know well. Even though you may live with the same people day to day for years, this is never really a problem because there is a real sense of community between boarders that would be hard to find anywhere else.

Admittedly there are draw backs to boarding, such as you are set times for work or having to go to chapel, but these are insignificant if taken in context of the whole boarding experience. I think this may be the word I was searching for at the beginning of this article, experience is probably the most apt description you will find for boarding school. By being a boarder, you automatically open yourself up to vast mixtures of people and personalities. You are put into a situation where you are met with hundreds of new faces, most probably from all across the world, and in my opinion, this can only help you in preparation for later life.

Boarding allows you to see and do things that many people will never be able to do, simply because you are there and it is happening around you. How many people can admit to having travelled across the country, and sometimes across the world in their teenage years?

My main feeling about boarding though is the life skills and experiences that it teaches. Not only do we learn how to work and live without the day to day influences of parents, but the experiences boarding provides will stay with you for life and will most likely help to shape your character. Of course it may not suit some people, but boarding gives confidence, individuality, a good work ethic and a sense of community. Most importantly however, boarding gives you a sense of humour, unique only to boarders!

Experiences, individuality, people and confidence are my interpretation of boarding school, or more importantly what boarding school has to offer. Boarding is different, there is no questioning that, but I believe that boarding has something to offer that is not only enjoyable, but also valuable for the future.

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