October 28, 2017 | Ollie Randall
I will not pretend that boarding school is easy from the beginning. From the first day, we have received help and support from many people. One is an authoritative, respected and trusted male housekeeper, and a female housekeeper. She is like the mother of all the boys in the dormitory, taking care of her wholeheartedly. Each of us; there are many others who follow our interests and encourage us to pursue what we are good at. Even so, my first two semesters at the age of thirteen were terrible, and I had to learn how to grow. But there is no doubt that I am very happy that I successfully boarded. This is a rich experience that has kept my life good for the next few years.
I don’t think it is a good idea to study in a British boarding school before the age of thirteen. Even at that age, it is very challenging for some of us. As far as I am concerned, this is certainly not the school’s fault; nor is it the boarding itself. From the comfortable life of a small school with narrow vision, I was thrown into a daunting school with 1,300 students. I am too soft; in order to adapt here, I must grow. I have to learn how to develop outside my comfort zone.
This is a real test of character; but it is definitely a good thing for me. Boarding schools expand young people, teach them to be self-reliant, and-most importantly-force them to become members of the community and build close ties with classmates and teachers. If I live at home, I will drive myself out of my comfort zone even more reluctantly; I can avoid social situations I don’t like instead of learning how to deal with them. I believe I will learn these skills eventually, but the boarding school has set very good conditions for my gap and my five years in university. I believe this gave me a good start. I became a more flexible person than before.
Life in boarding school is full of passion. It is built around a large boarding family, which is the core of these school life. In my school, there are twenty-five apartments, each housing more than fifty students; usually there are fewer apartments, but they may be larger. Everyone lives in their apartment to work and sleep, supervised by the dormitory and dormitory. There is an apartment assembly every day; there are also common rooms in the apartment for students to relax, toast or play table tennis. The apartment team will compete with other apartment teams, and their members will also pay attention and support each other. This is the environment that every student must adapt to.
The key aspect of the whole experience is how to get along with the classmates in the apartment. I spent five years with ten other boys: we live together, eat together, and exercise together. We are all very different people, and it is inevitable that we often have small conflicts. So we must learn how to get along, adapt, resolve differences, and build meaningful and lasting friendships. Some of the deepest and most valuable of all my friendships are the ones I established in that environment.
As we lived together longer, we spent a lot of wonderful time together. The school has a wide variety of activities and facilities, far more than any day school can manage. School clubs and societies arrange for interesting speakers to visit, and there are several such visits a week. We have a good theater that shows about twenty plays every year-about half of our students have participated in at least one play, and many of us have also participated in behind-the-scenes activities, stage preparation or learning how to control lights and sounds. Most students can play musical instruments, so there are orchestras and other bands for us to participate in, and there are many concerts and solos for us to watch. We have an art center and an independent design center, and there are plenty of resources that we can try. There is a chess club, a startup club, a science club, a yoga club, three to four school magazines, etc. The number of sports offered is staggering: climbing, running, karate, badminton, kayaking, shooting, fishing, fencing, squash, swimming, water polo, and mainstream sports such as football and tennis-and unique sports everywhere. For example, in my school, there is a very popular sport called Field Game, which is a sport that mixes football and rugby. I am more popular than any other sport. There are two particularly weird but crucial rules: Passing is not allowed, and most players must stay close to each other and move together in the crowd, not spread out. These make this game different from any other game I have played.
I managed to try almost all the activities I described, which helped me figure out what I am good at and what I really care about. As time passed, I became more and more insistent on the hobby I chose. I have become more confident in myself. I have to understand myself as a person because I always know what my apartment year group thinks of me. Moreover, teenagers at this age will often have conflicts with their parents because they need more freedom, we have been safely away from our parents, and we are more able to appreciate what they do for us during the holidays.
I have many fond memories of boarding school. This is not easy, we will all have moments when we are tired of living close to each other, but it really makes me who I want to be. When people refer to the “good education” provided by boarding schools, the first thing I think of is not our curriculum. On the contrary, I think of many times when some of us have heated debates on political issues or controversial issues in our courses or assemblies. Because we spent a lot of time in the host family, arguing with each other has become our favorite common hobby. (Or maybe it’s a common favorite, and also squeeze beside someone’s computer at the same time to watch them play video games). We strengthened our confrontation, forcing each other to think about the world from a new perspective, and respecting the ideas of all of us in different ways. I was lucky enough to go to boarding school, and this gave me life skills that I use every day.
Hong Kong’s Ampla Education has a world-class team with in-depth knowledge in academic guidance and years of rich experience in studying abroad. It provides students with efficient consultation and services in application for further studies and studying abroad. We believe that with the help of the Ampla education team, through our management, guidance and training, the potential of students will be maximized.
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