Boarding School

February 28, 2008
By Jess Lipman, Livingston, NJ

You miss silence. You miss the way it sounds, the way it smells, the way it feels, the way it tastes, and the way it does not critic you or demand anything of you.
Being at boarding school means you’re constantly bounded, constantly socializing, constantly distressing about situations left and right. It means you never get a moment to be alone… and if you do, it’s when you’re walking back to the dorm after a full day of classes, sports, drama, and reprocessed food. You’re lucky if you get thirty feet without having to say hi to someone, or fake a smile somebody’s way.
It’s different than being an every day public school student – they get breaks from each other as soon as the bell rings quarter of three. But for boarders at prep schools, you live, eat, sleep, breathe, learn, study, and even bathe with a person by your side. Growing up with multiple companions in brick buildings from the 1800s can be adventurous and mind-blowing and adrenaline-rushing, yet when you feel like you’re on the verge of a break down; all you want is to be alone in a simple room, with a guarantee that you won’t be bothered for an astounding ten minutes, or maybe even 15. Yet the gift of just being able to sit down and think is something so foreign to you, that you can’t even imagine attempting to do it, anymore.
The plus side of being at boarding school is how academically rewarding it is… the success it provides you… the doors of the future it opens for you… but can you really even care about all of that when you’re having trouble breathing? Can you physically give a damn when your legs feel weak and your arms are cold and your head is pounding and your neck is sore from anxiety? Can you appreciate the beauty of being given an incredible opportunity to learn at such a high level, when the only thoughts racing through your crowded brain are, “Will I get thru this?”
What’s worse than the concept of confusion and mess is the nervous wondering you develop concerning its permanence. You pray it ends soon. You pray it’s just a speed bump. You fall asleep at night with the notion in your head that in the morning, it’ll all be over. But when you wake up to the sound of girls running around the dorm and the familiar smell of hair spray and perfume, you remember where you are and how small you feel in this big, suffocating setting.
There are people here that you’ve grown to deeply care for. Maybe a roommate. Maybe a boyfriend. The thought of a life without them scares you. They are your surroundings, and realizing how little you appreciate them right now sickens you. It’s like having a monster in your stomach; one that eats up all your joy and certainty, one that completely tornadoes itself thru your system, smashing and destroying every ounce of sureness you’ve got. Inside you’re screaming, “This is killing me!”

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jul. 5 2011 at 2:25 pm
PaperIdeas BRONZE, Houston, Texas
1 article 0 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
"…because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’

This was a really nicely written story, but it goes against everything I've read about boarding school. I want to go to a boarding school for high school because of the academics and the closeness between people...but i guess it can get too close...

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