Helping you get through tough times

Starting boarding school

toothbrushes in mug next to plantLeaving for boarding school, whether you want to go or not, can be pretty tough. If you’re not the one who chose to go away to school, you might be feeling angry about having to leave home, and if you are, it can still be huge step.

Is it right for you?

Deciding to go away to school isn’t always easy. You might find yourself under pressure from your parents to make a decision one way or the other. It’s important that you make the right choice for you. To help make this decision:

  • write a list of all the advantages and disadvantage of going away to school
  • talking through your reasons with your family or your friends – this can help you figure out what you really think

Leaving home

It’s normal to have mixed feelings about leaving home to go away to school. It’s exciting to have the chance to be more independent, make new friends and have loads of new experiences. But it’s also ok to feel a little scared, homesick or lonely. It’s noraml to feel nervous about leaving your familiar surroundings, but it’s amazing how quickly we can get used to new places.

Starting at a new school

Starting at a new school can be pretty stressful, whether it’s boarding or not, but with boarding school comes a few extra worries. Some of these could be:

  • being in an unfamiliar environment
  • feeling sad that you are not able to hang out with your old friends
  • worrying that you won’t have a group of friends to hang out with
  • feeling nervous or worried about your workload
  • being tired from all the energy involved with starting a new school
  • not having a lot of time to yourself
  • feeling intimidated by other students – if this is something that’s going on, check out bullying for advice

For tips on how to handle being the new kid, have a look at the section on starting at a new school.

Making life easier at school

Remember that you’re not on your own – loads of people have a hard time adjusting to school or come up against problems now and then.

Give it time. Big changes often take time to adjust to, and moving away from home to boarding school is pretty big. Letting  yourself get used to the change is important. Try to take it one day at a time. It’s likely life will start to get easier as you become more familiar with your routine and start to make new friends.

Break the ice

Getting to know people in boarding school can make it great fun, but it might take a bit of effort to break the ice. Get involved with activities, start conversations if you can, and be open to talking to everyone, no matter what group they seem to fit in. If you’ve got a visitor coming, maybe invite some of the others to come out with you – it can be a good way to get to know people better.

Create your own space

Making your space your own can help you to bring a bit of home to school. Posters, books, pictures of friends and family and ornaments to put your own stamp on your living space and may help it be more like home.

Talk to someone

It may be helpful to talk to someone about how you are feeling. This may be a friend or family member. Sometimes talking to someone who is not so close to the situation may be helpful. This could be someone like a school counsellor, school nurse, or a teacher. For more information about how these people can help, check out the face-to-face help section.

If you would prefer to talk to someone anonymously you could call Childline for free on 1800 66 66 66  or freephone Samaritans on 116 123. They have people available 24 hours a day to listen to whatever you have to say.

This article was last reviewed on 03 May 2017

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