On education in Europe and the USA

Clever Magazine
Schools Student life United Kingdom Kateryna Abgaryan

Inside Boarding Schools: How You Learn to Create Family, Not Enemies

The mere mention of boarding schools frequently evokes a picturesque scene in the minds of many, especially teenagers.
It's a realm where perfect friendships, relationships, engaging activities, and even captivating drama seem to flourish effortlessly. However, it's reasonable to infer that reality tells a more intricate tale, capturing not only the highlights but also the diverse array of challenges that inevitably arise. For example, navigating competition during our teenage years, especially in the context of boarding schools, can either ignite our motivation or stifle our growth. This multifaceted experience teaches us crucial life lessons that extend beyond the classroom. Amidst the halls of academia and within the boundaries of extracurricular pursuits, the dance of competition unfolds in myriad ways, shaping our character in the process. This lesson stands out within the context of boarding school life, being both enlightening and demanding. Apart from all other aspects, there's this challenge of handling unforeseen and involuntary emotions. While a range of emotions might potentially result in conflicts, the boarding school environment showcases the ability to foster a sense of family rather than discord. In this article, my aim is to use my observations to illustrate how these emotions have a unifying, rather than divisive, effect.
The realm of involuntary feelings appears to be a shared aspect of the human experience, often magnified among teenagers. It's a universal understanding that these emotions, far from being pleasant, have the potential to give rise to a multitude of misunderstandings. Nevertheless, within the distinctive framework of a boarding school, a distinctive atmosphere takes shape, altering the narrative in intriguing ways. One of the fundamental cornerstones of the boarding school experience is the concept of communal living. This overarching concept of coexistence becomes a focal point, where individuals from diverse backgrounds and personalities converge beneath one roof. The physical division into distinct houses further emphasizes unity through separation. Strangely, it is within these divisions that a powerful undercurrent of camaraderie thrives.
My personal experience can undoubtedly attest to the volatility of these emotions, as I navigated an emotional roller coaster. It began with disputes and misconceptions but culminated in the realization that departing from these individuals was something I wasn't prepared for. Sharing a kitchen space, being readily available to offer support whenever needed, and even reconciling within seconds to share a hug – regardless of prior disagreements – underscored the intimacy of our connections. The joint responsibility for household tasks, the cycle of attributing blame and then realizing the greater purpose of unity in tidying up, all contributed to this sense of togetherness. The collective endeavor of organizing house events and the ongoing aspiration to outdo other houses in becoming the best created a bond that transcended individual differences. It showed me that unity emerges from shared goals, joint experiences, and the understanding that working together is paramount.
The competitive spirit that often thrives within these institutions undergoes a transformation. It becomes a channel for fostering a collective sense of pride, where each house nurtures a genuine belief in its superiority. This dynamic, while seemingly fueling division, in reality, becomes a binding agent that strengthens the bonds between students. Even the occasional dramas that unfold within the microcosm of the boarding school play a crucial role in this narrative of unity. These instances, often misconstrued as fractious, serve to knit the student body together. They provide a shared experience, fostering empathy and understanding among peers and contributing to the deepening of connections.
Further enhancing the sense of unity is the shared experience of participating in similar interests, activities, and academic pursuits. This shared dimension adds depth to the boarding school journey.
Among students, there's an unspoken connection that goes beyond words. It's a special element that nurtures a strong feeling of belonging – a sentiment that's particularly nurtured within this environment. In the context of boarding school life, conversing with someone from outside often highlights the challenge of fully expressing the depth of your conversations. It's the friends within these walls who truly understand what you mean. Whether you're navigating challenging moments, enduring difficult phases, or celebrating accomplishments, these are the individuals who become your confidants. You share every aspect of your journey with them, rooted in the reassurance of mutual understanding and genuine empathy. This shared understanding serves as the foundation of an unwavering bond, reinforcing the connections that unite students. It's an intangible force that supports trust and friendship, shaping the core of the boarding school experience. Through this common understanding, unity is cultivated – a unity that goes beyond physical closeness, becoming an integral part of the collective story that defines life within these walls.
The uniformity in lifestyle is a notable aspect of the boarding school environment.
The shared routines, from waking up at the same time to following similar daily schedules, create a sense of cohesion among students. I distinctly remember those busy mornings when we would all rush to get ready, making sure everyone was up and ready. Then, we would gather as a group and walk together to the chapel, singing hymns in unison. It felt like we were a single, harmonious musical instrument creating a beautiful melody. This was one of my favorite routines that truly brought us all together. It's in these seemingly ordinary moments that I realized the power of unity that can be forged through synchronized actions and shared experiences.
Adherence to shared rules and regulations further reinforces this collective experience. The guidelines set by the institution are not just arbitrary constraints; they form the foundation of a well-functioning community. This adherence fosters a sense of responsibility, as students realize that their actions directly influence the atmosphere and interactions within the boarding school. Even the seemingly minor peculiarities, such as designated timings for meals, study hours, and recreational activities, play a crucial role in shaping the shared experience. These routines, though they might appear restrictive, actually create a sense of predictability and order. They help students synchronize their activities and interactions, contributing to a harmonious environment where everyone's presence is acknowledged and valued.
I recall the initial days being a whirlwind of conflicting emotions and misunderstandings. It's only natural that adapting to a new way of life and the daily fluctuations in emotions takes time. The reality was a mix of disagreements, assorted sentiments, and emotions triggering negative reactions, which accompanied me through different phases. Yet, as time passed and unity prevailed, every individual, even those initially unknown, assumed significance in my life. And as for the genuine friends I formed, they evolved into an inseparable extension of my family.
The involuntary feelings, which might typically foster division, find an alternative path within the boarding school environment. They fuel not separation but rather connection, teaching us that by navigating emotions collectively and sharing experiences, we can create a robust sense of unity that withstands the tests of time.
The profound understanding that everyone is a vital cog in the same system becomes a unifying force that eclipses all other considerations. It underscores the importance of collaboration and teamwork, reinforcing the idea that the system thrives when all components work in harmony.