Anyone who's read a Harry Potter book or watched an episode of The Facts of Life probably wonders what it's like to attend boarding school. But as this list of Reddit stories about boarding school illustrates, the real-life experience is often much different from what you see in print or on the screen.
In many cases, young kids get sent to live away from home for long periods, far from loved ones and support networks. Much like the teacher's lounge, the boarding school experience unfolds quite differently than you might expect. For a lot of kids, boarding school is a downright scary time in their lives.
With that said, some boarding school Redditors also cited the benefits of a boarding school education. They developed a sense of independence at an early age and acquired valuable skills, including how to adapt to foreign surroundings and build social networks. Many found the instruction exceptional and the friendships solid and enduring. Considering the type of family a boarding school attendee typically comes from, many might also be happy to escape their helicopter parents.
So, let's take a look at the range of experiences Redditors remember from boarding school.
From Redditor /u/StopStarin:
I went to two. One was living hell. If you were caught smoking you were given 'work hours' (raking leaves, cleaning the kitchen, etc). 10 hours a week for one infraction and consequently your school work suffered. Then you got work hours for incomplete assignments.
Most of the kids were delinquents, sent there as their parents had given up. I remember two brothers that attended that could not get kicked out, regardless of what they did. One summer they decided to run away and stole a motor boat. They caught them two days later but the parents paid off the school administration and they never got expelled.
I went to a boarding school in England for a year and made the best friends I had throughout high school… I loved it. It was like stepping back in time - nuns, toilets with a chain to flush, historical buildings.
From Redditor /u/WhatIfTodayWasEaster:
I went to a military boarding school in the middle of nowhere. It was a mix between a frat house and a regular school at all times. There are adults who monitored us but during the weekends there was just us in the dorms. On school nights it's basically just like living with helicopter parents.
From Redditor /u/thecasualcaucasian:
I thought it was great. But it depends on the school and the person. Some schools provide a great education and many times the school will have faculty with connections to one or more Ivy League colleges. The friends you make last a lifetime. They can open doors later in life that you could not possibly imagine while you are there. If you are into sports or academics it's a great place to focus. If you want to party and have sex it's also great for that too (fewer eyes on more teens).
The most important thing to remember, whether you are on scholarship or your family paid, is to make the most of it because in most cases you were given a great opportunity. And there are thousands of kids that would do anything to take your place. It's a privilege that you should feel grateful to receive.
From Redditor /u/andachu:
I lived in an all girls Catholic boarding school and it definitely lived up to the stereotypes. The girls there were spoiled rotten, self-centered snobs. I got along with them but I wouldn't call them friends… I had my own tiny room, with enough room for a bed, desk, and sink. I wasn't allowed to be in my room unless I was going to bed for the night, changing out of my uniform, or sick. They wanted to make sure we didn't outcast ourselves. As someone who likes alone time and naps, that sucked.
After school, the girls would sit in our little living room thing that had a bunch of recliners and chairs set up in a large circle. We'd talk or do whatever until supper. Then we could access the library and it'd be study time for at least an hour, then we could play on the computers, and at 9:00 we had to go to prayer, then to our rooms for the night.
Bedtime was at 10, lights out at 10:30. It was boring. I've never been around so much gossip and complaining before either.