On education in Europe and the USA

Clever Magazine
Schools United Kingdom Kateryna Abgaryan

The Luxury in Simplicity: How The Most Privileged People Show Their Privilege? They Don’t

In modern times, the understanding of a "luxury life" has become blurred, as human beings simply seek happiness and struggle with determining the true essence of luxury they need. Every day, we are running after new achievements instead of being satisfied with what we have already accomplished, often taking on multiple jobs to afford more and more. However, we forget that true richness of the soul cannot be achieved through material pursuits. In this article, I aim to share the story from my boarding school life, where I discovered a different perspective on “luxury” from people who truly understand its essence.
Boarding schools have become a popular choice for teenagers worldwide, including Switzerland, Great Britain, the United States, and other leaders in premium education - I was among those eager to attend. Attending boarding schools often turns out to be one of the most memorable and illuminating moments in the life of teenagers. However, the presence of certain stereotypes, combined with an unfamiliar environment and the process of acquainting yourself with a "new world" can contribute to making the first meeting with boarding schools a worrisome experience.
As a first-time boarding school student, I went through an emotional roller coaster—experiencing fear, excitement, and a myriad of feelings that distracted me from recognizing life's magnificent opportunities. One of the most bothersome thoughts was: "What if I am not accepted into this society?" Even though it's great to spend time by yourself, we’re always looking for support and like-minded people when away from family and home warmth.
Upon landing at the airport in Scotland, where my boarding school, Gordonstoun, was located, I realized that the first steps toward something new had already been taken, leaving no room for turning back. The same disturbing feelings did not leave me as soon as I met the guys from school but only enhanced their effect on my perception of what was going on. As a girl living with other girls who spoke the language perfectly, I felt isolated, assuming I would have to deal with everything by myself. The lack of understanding about what was going on created an even more stressful environment, overshadowing everything else. Nonetheless, I reminded myself to embrace new life circumstances with openness and a willingness to learn and grow.
Within a few days of arriving, everything changed dramatically. Communication improved significantly with everyone in entirely different circumstances, and I became more familiar with the school's environment and concept, gaining new insights daily about what made boarding schools truly unique. The expiration of positive circumstances increased, and the analysis of what was happening became an obligatory item in the routine.
The most profound lesson I learned at Gordonstoun School was that modern realities often overlook the most vital luxury of all—simplicity. In this place, simplicity imbued with beauty and harmony reigned, permeating every corner, and most importantly, flourishing within the people there. It was a luxury I enjoyed every single day.
Gordonstoun is a school that unites individuals from diverse backgrounds, enriched with experiences, and essential members of the global community. Internally enriched and filled with love for life and its unpredictable twists, I found myself increasingly enchanted by their simplicity. True intelligence and talent were not displayed through boastful superiority but through a willingness to extend a helping hand to others. This luxurious simplicity manifested itself in various aspects: we all wore the same school uniforms and comfortable clothes, evoking a sense of coziness and familiarity; the alluring campus, with its forests, fields, lakes, and animals, highlighted nature's wealth and our daily connection with it - the fundamental elements of life; and mandatory expeditions brought us together, leaving a lasting impression as we worked as a unified team, sharing primitive conditions. These experiences imprinted upon each of us, enriching us beyond materiality, and giving rise to the luxurious simplicity of the soul.
The understanding that privileged people are showing their privilege by not doing it opened up a whole new world in front of me. True wealth lies in the quiet and simple things that surround us in our daily routines. It only requires a shift in focus, moving beyond mere success, vocation, and material possessions. The people at Gordonstoun and the school itself taught me that simplicity is a significant achievement, and the true luxuriance of the soul lies in cherishing simplicity: helping newcomers to adapt, smiling or sunbathing even during rainy days, appreciating the delicate rustle of leaves, walking through the campus and being inspired by it like for the first time, doing some childish things that cause laughter from the depth of the stomach…
Despite common misconceptions, boarding schools offer more than just academic education. They are environments where students learn to live without being instructed how to.
The combination of circumstances, challenges and communication involuntarily gives rise to crucial life conclusions that significantly influence the formation of a teenager's personality. Not only understanding but also a direct example from people there of how important it is not to lose spiritual wealth in the constant pursuit of something more in this world, became for me one of the decisive ones in shaping my perspective on the future. The true luxury turns out to be finding beauty and abundance in the simple aspects of life, being content in having enough rather than always pursuing more, and appreciating the little pleasures. It is about discovering inner serenity and fulfillment without the need for a lot of material belongings or expensive adventures. This is what boarding school was for me — an evolution from a stressful environment resulting in a deeper sense of contentment, harmony, and overall well-being from embracing simplicity.