Attending a boarding school comes with many surprises, both good and bad. You definitely won’t come out the same person as you went in, and for that, you will be completely grateful. Because boarding school nerds are the best kind of people.
My school of choice? MSMS.
The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science–AKA: where I spent my life as a junior and senior in high school.
If you aren’t familiar with school, check out themsms.org.
There are several things that happen when you go to boarding school….
You learn to hide your stuff better than the CIA
Room-checks are a weekly occurrence. From coffee makers to that bottle of cheap vodka and cigarettes/cloves, you know how to stash away your contraband like a pro. That duct tape never had better use than sticking stuff to the bottom of your bed or under your sink.
You got used to studying only during study hours
College was an adjustment because for the past few years you’ve been required to study during a couple of designated hours every night. You got your work done and then went and raised havoc, like a good little student. As long as you made your A’s, it was totally acceptable.
You completely lose touch with your favorite TV shows.
If you were a TV buff before, you probably didn’t get a chance to keep up with them when you got shipped off. With only a few TVs on campus, you probably had to share them with hundreds of other students and RAs. But that’s ok, because between studying and hanging out with your live-in best friends, you probably didn’t have time to watch TV anyway.
You’re grateful for any trips that take you out of school, no matter where they’re to.
Walmart? Taco Bell? Gas station? Why, yes, I would like to go there! There are good and bad things about living at your high school. Being quarantined to the campus can make you stir crazy. And no one likes to eat the cafeteria food 3 meals a day. So when you get the chance to get off campus, you do it.
At MSMS, we had Privilege Plans. There were different levels that you earned depending on your grades and behavior. This determined how many days a week and how many hours you could sign-out of campus.
Sneaking out makes you feel like a bad ass spy
Additionally, if you are even remotely a rebel, you learn how to sneak off campus, because your Privilege plan never gave you enough time. Now, depending on how brave you were, you either knew how to sneak out for an hour or even over night. Hone in on your ninja and spy skills, because they were definitely required for these shenanigans. But, regardless of your stance on obeying the rules, these instances were some of the best stories I had in high school.
You develop an amazing sibling bond with your fellow boarders.
Living with your peers sparks a different relationship compared to regular high school. You are all going through the same situations. You’re studying your butt off to get into an awesome college. You’re all dealing with the feeling that you are halfway in and halfway out of being independent. You all have to deal with the awful RA’s that watch your every move and thrive off getting you in trouble. Even though you are all very different, you become this dysfunctional family that will last a lifetime.
You don’t even know who you’re allowed to cuddle.
You get real comfortable. And real physical, but not in a creepy way. Again, these people have become your family, and you love them. And you cuddle the people you love, naturally.
All your high school friends are now scattered around the world.
Additionally, because you go to school with the most amazing people in the world, you end up being scattered around the world/country. Your friends have moved off to Ivy Leagues and become brilliant professionals. Yes, you’re so proud of them you could cry, but you will miss the hell out of them. Reunion anyone?
You definitely become more cultured and progressive
Your student body probably included several different ethnic groups, religions, and sexualities. While there may have been a few bullies or judgmental people, most of your classmates were understanding and interested in the intricacies of the various aspects of your life. You were probably also exposed to new and interesting ideas and philosophies. This left you cultured and more progressive in your thought process, making you a more well-rounded and understanding person.
You will miss your English teachers immensely
Yes, I went to a school focused on math and science; however, my favorite courses ended up being my literature ones. The professors are brilliant and they will make you look at reading and writing in a completely new way. Plus, they are usually uncensored and blunt about many topics, making these classes incredibly more entertaining. One of my favorite quotes I’ve ever heard was from my junior year American Lit professor: “Sex, drugs & death are the three main components to make up a well-rounded, and bad ass, story.”
Writing a paper becomes one of the easiest things to do.
Because you are writing several a week, you learn how to whip out a paper in little to no time. You know the formula, you know what the professors want, so this becomes a piece of cake.
You miss the spontaneity and creativity of your hook-up spots
It’s not easy dating when you’re being watched like a hawk, but you get creative. Abandoned buildings, the library, and tree stands you build for these specific purposes are just a few of the ideas I would think people would use, you know, if I knew anything about the topic…
Lights out will hold a completely different meaning for you
The school dictates your bedtime, but, again, you learn how to be creative. Flashlights, towels under your doors to hide the light, and hanging out in your bathroom floor just to finish that research paper you’ve been procrastinating on all semester become common in your dorm.
You become real comfortable with nudity
Because you live in a small space with a lot of people, this is bound to happen. I will neither confirm nor deny that I have streaked through the halls of my dormitory on my friends’ 18th birthday.
Skipping class is not an option
Everyone knows where you live, so you can’t fake sick or just skip your first class. The professors and staff are not afraid to wake you up or hunt you down. Plus, if you do get away with faking sick, you’re stuck having to act like that for the next 24 hours. Unless you have the plague, you better get to class.
You get really spoiled by your class schedule, but you become way more time sensitive.
You most likely had a schedule comparative to that of a college one. You may have a full MWF schedule and no classes on TR. Or vice versa. This allows for optimal nap schedules. However, you know how to use your time. You work hard so you can play hard.
You have a different concept about punishments
Level 1, Level 2, Level 3. Redcard. Additional Work Service. Getting your privelage plan revoked. If you didn’t go to MSMS or a boarding school, you probably have no idea what these are. They are not fun.
Getting expelled isn’t just a Harry Potter folklore ideal. It becomes a reality.
Don’t break the rules if you aren’t sneaky. And if you decide to break them, DON’T GET CAUGHT. Having to go back to your old school or to your parents and explain to them why you’re back is probably one of the worst things to happen to a boarding school nerd.
It is your nature to share almost everything.
Living with so many people and not having the ability to just run out to the store when you need something makes you more generous. Also, you share homework and knowledge. With so many people around that crave learning, it only makes sense to share the wealth.
You automatically gain 30 different wardrobes
Again, you share. When you can only bring a certain amount of your wardrobe because your closet is smaller than the Grinch’s heart before it grew 3 time its size, you have to mix and match outfits with your fellow boarders.
You’ll miss your roommate like crazy
My roommate became my soulmate and lifelong best friend. We live over 10 hours away from each other and I miss her more than anything. She was my partner in crime. When you live with someone at boarding school, you learn their habits, their emotions, their annoying tendencies. You learn to love them, even if you are complete opposites. Excuse me while I go crawl in a ball and wish I still lived that close to my roomie.
You’ll have to be careful about how much of your weird you show to new friends
Because you’ve lived with your friends and they have seen you during the good, the bad, and the ugly phases of your life, you have gotten probably way too comfortable with them. You can belt out horrible music, eat more food than an NFL team during an all-carb binge, and dance around in ridiculous outfits looking like a flopping fish out of water…..and they don’t judge you. This makes it hard to decipher how much of the awkwardness and weird you can whip out in front of your new friends. Godspeed to my fellow weirdos…
It becomes your home
Again, these people become your family. You probably only got to go home once a month (or less), meaning you spent way more time at school than you did at the place you “grew up” in. You know the campus like the back of your hand, and you have made your dorm room cozy. What’s even more weird is that you sometimes don’t want to go home on holiday, because you’d rather be around your friends and your campus than at “home” with your family.
You think it’s totally weird when people say they hated high school. Because you actually loved it.
You got to live with your best friends and do (mostly) whatever you wanted without the watchful eyes of your parents. You got to meet some of the most interesting and amazing people. High school wasn’t filled with bullies and drama. It was filled with adventures and exploration.
So kudos to you, boarders. You pretty much had the best high school experience there is to offer.