The Boarding School Files

The best decision I ever made came to me in the form of an application to a residential high school. The boarding school, a more simplified term than the previous one, was said to focus on STEM subjects, which were far from my wheelhouse. I liked to lounge in the creativity of the humanities and the arts rather than tear my hair out with one hand and compute mathematical equations with the other. Yet, some strange notion pushed me along and all of a sudden I was receiving an acceptance letter.

Thrust into the independence of living on campus with hundreds of other students, I sunk into my schoolwork and the (dis)comfort of my twin-sized bed. Leaving my family was such a foreign action that I just wanted to keep to myself. However, there came a time during that year when I didn’t want to seclude myself anymore. I didn’t want to become a “room hermit," a term popularized at our school to describe people like me. I wanted to mingle with friends who I cared about and who made me laugh while we sat under the glowing sun on a picnic  bench.

Slowly but surely, I became more outgoing. My friends grew in number and, as a result, my happiness grew exponentially. The moments I experienced happened so fast, but they were so incredibly memorable. Examples include that time we were walking back from Taco Bell and stumbled upon friendly cats that let us coo over them, when we danced the night away in the second floor lobby of the humanities building and sweated in the strobe lights, and when we watched bad reality TV and talked about art and our dreams until two in the morning. Spiraling political discussions and existential inquiries fill our dialogues. Laughter and shared snacks fill our bellies. And love for all of these people fill my heart.

Sure, there are some things I don’t like about living in a dorm or even at this school. Sharing a bathroom with twelve other girls is interesting, to say the least. Furthermore, privacy is very elusive and people often walk into my room without announcing themselves. Other observations: laundry room dynamics are very strange, cafeteria food frequently varies in quality, all of the students in this school are incredibly competitive, and nothing is easy. But the benefits far outweigh the costs. My education, my friends, and my family are very present in my life and the school I am at has only strengthened my relationships with all three of these things. I am happy, fulfilled, and most of all, unafraid. I am unafraid of living on my own. I am unafraid of the future. I am unafraid right here in the present. And you should be, too.

By Sophie Sebastiani

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