Boarding School vs. College

The following entry was written by Molly Benjaminson, Class of 2016.

Since I attended a boarding school for high school, I assumed I would be 100% ready for the transition to college. How wrong I was!

I learned that college and dorm life still take some getting used to even if you’ve had a comparable experience away from home. The biggest difference I felt was the sudden independence and ability to make all my own decisions. What was not so new to me was being away from my family. I didn’t feel the same kind of homesickness my friends were experiencing during the first few weeks of the semester, but I could empathize with them. I went through a very similar adjustment when I first joined the boarding community, but the feeling passed for me just like it did eventually for my college friends. It helps so much to realize you aren’t alone in what you are feeling! Talking to roommates helps a lot, and there are plenty of support services at Emerson (like the Counseling Center) who are there to help you as well.

Paramount dorm room

A dorm room at Emerson. Definitely a better view than boarding school!

With college also came a lot more responsibility. For the first time, I became concerned with getting an on-campus job to pay for movies, dinners out, and other leisure expenses. Becoming financially responsible is a big part of college, and it’s never too early to start keeping track of finances. Become familiar with online banking (it will be your new best friend), and take advantage of Emerson resources like Money Matters. On-campus jobs are a great way to earn your spending money because they are convenient and flexible, although plenty of students have off-campus jobs too.

Time-management is also a skill you’ll learn quickly in college. At boarding school, we had curfews and adhered to a much more structured schedule day-to-day. In college, the time you don’t spend in class is all your own. It’s important to budget it well so that you have enough time for reading and homework as well as social engagements and any commitments you may take on as a member of a club or organization. After your first semester, you can schedule your own classes and get in the groove of a daily routine that works best for your habits.

Attending a boarding school was not entirely like going to college. I got a leg up on the key experiences that come with dorm life. That being said, no experience can truly prepare you for college- you just have to go with an open mind and be ready for all the new things headed your way!

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