Myths about Boarding School

So, I know we’re new here, but I wanted to take this first post just to clarity a little bit about ourselves and boarding school. My friends and I were talking one day about how few people understand boarding life. I thought this would be a good topic for my first casual post. There are so many misconceptions about what we do and why we go here. I’d say most boarding school students have all experienced it when they mention they go to boarding school and someone asks them “What did you do?” with shock in their eyes. I know that when I first started telling people I would be leaving Newport Beach for high school, a good amount of people quickly assumed I had some “issues” or was a “juvenile delinquent.” No, I’m proud to say, I’m neither of those things. Yes, there are boarding schools that house students to try and keep them out of trouble or change their ways, but those are called reformatory boarding schools. Basically, not every boarding school is meant for reform or a place to send your kids to get them out of the house. In fact, most aren’t. And I mean no offense to people who attend reformatory schools, because I even know some people who go to ones like that, and even those kinds of school are misunderstood. Now, it’s nobody’s fault. I don’t want to be that person who blames problems in society on “the media,” but to a certain extent, TV shows like Zoey 101 and Gossip Girl portray boarding schools as a stereotype, and because they aren’t common enough, it can be hard to realize that not all boarding schools are “party schools” or filled with “rich, snobby, kids.”

I, unlike most boarding school students, never even considered going away to high school until about mid-seventh grade. So before that, I was a little guilty of believing some stereotypes, so I know how easy it is to be unaware. However, the truth of the matter is that there are many different types boarding schools. Yes, some (particularly on the East Coast) are more preppy than others, and some are reformatory schools, but a vast majority of boarding schools are either college-prep schools (like mine), or simply schools where the students live there—there’s not a huge difference.

The other very common stereotype regarding boarding schools, is that students are “sent” there. When my mom would mention that her daughter goes to boarding school, other adults would respond with “I just love my daughter/son too much” or “why would you ever want to send them away?” Now, I was the one who originally brought up boarding schools at the dinner table, and although my parent were pretty supportive, it still took some time to fully convince them this was the right choice. In fact, I don’t think it was until toward the end of my freshman year did they realize just how good of choice this school was for me. But to a nervous parent having to deal with their youngest child leaving the nest at fourteen years old, being accused of “not loving their children enough” can be hard. Yes, boarding schools that you are sent to do exist, but most of them time, students want to go. In fact, I would say most of the time they do, because if a student doesn’t want to attend a boarding school, a school would probably not even accept them, or if they come, then they will not enjoy themselves and  leave. At my school in particular, no one is ever sent here. The  community and school dynamic simply requires students to want to be here, and that’s what makes them work hard.

I know having this rant as my first post, might not be a good idea. I don’t want you to think I’m some angry high school student out to avenge all stereotypes. I just it’s important to understand boarding schools, so people aren’t afraid to apply and can be supportive of friends and families who attend boarding schools. With that said, before high school, I was guilty of thinking all boarding schools had plaid skirts and some had movie theaters like in Zoey 101, but now I attend one which doesn’t have uniforms and unfortunately, no movie theater. I won’t always post long rants like this, but a reason why we started this blog was to show the world the truth about boarding school students, share our knowledge and techniques of “away from home” living to other boarding school students, and to create  a place to share our random thoughts of being a teenage girl in today’s world. With that said, the boardersblog, although it’s included in the title, will not be centralized around boarding school. We will include various posts geared toward other boarders, but most of our posts will simply regard our deep, pensive thoughts on the meaning of life and stuff. :) I encourage you to come back and spread the word of this new site! If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for other articles, please email us or leave a comment below!

Always, Emma

3 thoughts on “Myths about Boarding School

  1. Hi Emma,

    I hope you’re well. My name is Zahra and I work on the (online) Engagement Team at the Mirror. I’m doing a piece about boarding schools, and hoping to include some of the questions/misconceptions that students who go to boarding school get asked. I really enjoyed your blog post above, and was hoping if I could quote parts of it in the piece I’m doing. I’d link back to here where appropriate. If you wouldn’t mind dropping me an email to let me know either way: zahra.mulroy@trinitymirror.com.

    Many thanks and I hope to hear from you soon,

    Best,

    Zahra

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