You probably read the title and thought to yourself, "What did I learn from boarding school?" I'm glad you asked because that is precisely what we shall discuss in the next few paragraphs. I assure you that building muscle strength and developing physical fitness from carrying buckets of water over long distances, will not be on this list. Should it be? Okay, let's get to it already:
After crying and wailing that your parents left you in this hole a.k.a boarding school, you'll eventually learn to be independent. Why? Because there's no mummy or daddy there to run to for every little complaint. Believe me, that housemaster or housemistress will not be as kind as your parents. Just forget it.
2. EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT
Think Prep time, etc. In case you were wondering, "prep time" is time devoted specifically to studying, after a brief siesta at the end of a class day. The keyword here is "studying" but some of us used that time to gist, read novels, and do every other thing under the sun, as long as there wasn't a senior or prefect with the eyes of a hawk to catch us. I use the term "us" just for convenience. I actually meant "them," as in other students. Of course, I spent prep studying. I read my novels during "novel time." What did you expect? *adjusts invisible jacket*
Essentially, boarding school taught you a simple lesson: you are the master of your own time. Your grades at the end of the day will tell the truth about your time management during the term. Or they might prove that you've got a very long neck and sat beside a smart student during the end-of-term exams. And you have 20/20 vision. What a blessing!
3. PERSONAL HYGIENE
Now, this one is iffy. Some people go to boarding school as little piglets and come back as fully-grown pigs. Yes, they even "oink" and snort like pigs too. All we need is a big, bad wolf to huff and puff to blow down the pigs' house away ... Oh, sorry! Wrong story.
What I meant to say was that boarding house made some people take personal hygiene more seriously than they did before. With scarce resources like water and soap becoming even scarcer on some days, it was easy to get labelled as a pig. Most people did their best to stay on the other side of that spectrum.
4. LEADERSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITY
Although my school allowed for both day students and boarders, most of the prefects and captains were boarders. Just a handful were day students. I think the entire boarding house experience simply made students more responsible and better suited to leadership roles.
5. FRUGALITY (a.k.a Living on a Budget)
6. GOOD MANNERS
Here's a little story to illustrate this point: I had a cousin who was extremely rude. Her parents sent her to boarding school. By the time she came back after the first semester, she was a completely different person. Boarding house literally broke her. She came back better behaved and very polite. I think I have made my point.
7. RESPECT FOR ELDERS
This is a good follow-up to # 6 above. You see, seniority was taken very seriously and you learnt that very quickly. You simply learnt to respect seniors (and teachers) or suffer punishment. It was that simple.
What was complicated matters was what each senior considered disrespectful. Add school mothers / fathers to the mix and the drama dragged on endlessly, with one group trying to protect their school daughters / sons and the other trying to punish the said school daughters / sons. One senior could say that you were looking at her funny and punish you for that. It was just so arbitrary. I tell you, there was too much power given to seniors. Or maybe I should use present tense for the sake of those still in secondary school. The Lord is your strength. You will survive.
Everyone had chores. Rooms were assigned duties like cleaning bathrooms and other public areas, and they had to be done together as a team.
I still wonder why Madam Koin-Koin and bush-babies did not wash the bathrooms, cut grass or sweep floors. After all, they worked together as a team to scare the socks off of innocent students. I am still waiting for an answer ...
What other useful skills, values or life lessons did you learn from boarding house or boarding school? Kindly share.