Five Facts About New England Boarding Schools
hazyshadeofwinter has the kind of charmed life that people write girly YA novels about. We're not jealous, but consider this our official warning, hazy: we're coming up there for a sleepover party. —Sparkitors
New England boarding schools comprise a universe of their own, and I'm here to tell you what it's like to attend one, and why they're so crazy, wonderful, and different.
1. Everyone knows each other. Seriously. Everyone. Every New England boarding school is a tangled web of people who went to camp, daycare, middle school, or the Cape together. My roommate's older sister knows my other friend's older sister from college. My stepbrother is close friends with a boy I went to elementary school with, who went off to boarding school a state away. I went to middle school with a girl whose father went to high school with my father. Not only that, but her mother and my father went to college together! It's crazy and ridiculously confusing, but it's also wonderful when you realize that a girl you just met is your life-long best friend's other close friend, and you've heard about each other all your lives, but never met til high school. It doesn't matter if you lived a state or two away, if you go to ANY New England boarding school, you will know people in common.
2. New England boarding schools all have their own quirky little traditions. They're some of the oldest high schools in the country, and they're steeped in tradition. To foster a more homey environment, my school doesn't have dorms or resident advisors, but houses and house parents. One boarding school that many of my friends attend has "forms," instead of grade levels, like in England. We all have our own traditions and secrets—an inevitability when you're with a few hundred other teenagers 24/7.
3. Most New England boarding schools are quite small. All of the students know each other, no matter what grade they're in. We're also very close with our teachers. At my school, the teachers are also dorm parents, so they live with us part of the time, and go back to their families and apartments when they aren't with us. My friends and I have spent hours in our house parents' real life apartments, chatting with them and playing with their kids. Because we're so close with our house parents, it's like having an extra set (or two or three) of real parents. It really helps school feel more like home, and I know my school isn't the only school where that is true.
4. The school year feels like a nine-month sleepover. The bonds you form with the people in your dorm are unlike anything else I've ever experienced. It's more than just friends; it's like we're siblings. My peers see me looking awful in my PJs at ridiculously early hours of the morning, sing with me in the shower, have impromptu dance parties with me, comfort me after a bad breakup, share food, and basically whatever else you can imagine. It's so nice knowing you always have people to hang out with no matter what.
5. The campuses are absolutely gorgeous. Most New England boarding schools are in small, quaint towns, and they all have charming brick buildings, old Victorian houses, and a grassy quad filled with trees. No matter what time of year, I think New England is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I'm lucky to attend such an incredible school!
New England boarding school where everyone knows everyone (and everything)—dream school, or not so much?
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