Tag Archives: dorm life

Weekend Boarder Life

2017-02-13-25

Students build a snowman during a weekend winter snowstorm.

by Bea Feicenbiner ’19

As a boarding student, sometimes I am left wondering what I can do on weekends. Every weekend has a theme, but some have more activities than others. Weekends like Harvest Weekend and Student Council Weekend are jam packed with things to do. All of the weekends can be fun for the students, but some, like Alumni Weekend, have less activities than others.

Of course, my roommate is always there and I have friends in my dorm. On weekends, more often than not, I have a friend sleepover in my room or I sleep in hers. I can walk into Newtown to get some ice cream or go to Starbucks. Sometimes we will walk over to the shopping center across the street and get lunch before running errands to Giant or Rite Aid. Newtown Book and Record has a great variety of entertainment if I need something new. There is a lot to do around town on the weekends.

My personal favorite weekend is Student Council Weekend. SAGE, another club I am a part of, also has a weekend. We do fun activities that include bonding opportunities with members of the community that otherwise you might not have met. Harvest Weekend is super fun, especially for boarders. Day students are invited too, but for domestic boarders who do not get to spend as much time with their family. Carving pumpkins and making buttercream brings people together. For international students, the Harvest Weekend activities might be the first time they are experiencing these things. Other weekends are club affiliated. Umoja Weekend and Footbag Weekend happened not long ago and they both included events that were fun for the whole campus.

There are other things to do instead of weekend activities and day trips to Newtown. The Deans’ office is always open to hang out in and the SAGE room is open Friday and Saturday too. During the warmer months, there is four-square on Red Square and during the colder months, you can borrow sleds from the Deans’ Office and sled down South Lawn. If you’re looking for a quiet place to study, the library is open on both Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes dorm parents and prefects will host activities, like tea parties or clothing swaps.

No matter what the weekend is, there is plenty to do, so you should not worry about being bored.

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Filed under Students, A Day in the Life, The Curious George, Student Work, dorm life

Life as a Boarder: A Reflection

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Photo by Kim Major.

by Bea Feichtenbiner ’19

Life in the dorms is nothing like I expected. Coming to George School, I was terrified. What if I didn’t like my roommate or what if she didn’t like me? What if I didn’t make friends or I missed home? Questions along these lines ran through my head as I packed my stuff to leave. I don’t know what I was expecting, I think it was probably a combination of the dorm life from Pitch Perfect or Legally Blonde, where everyone meets for study groups, clubs, and parties, and Mean Girls which—to me was an example of what high school was like.

When I got to George School, I was shocked. I didn’t hate my roommate and she didn’t hate me. Making friends was easy. I missed home, but not so much that I actually wanted to go home. But more importantly, high school wasn’t like Mean Girls. It wasn’t full of scheming and plotting against those around me. Living in the dorms was like Pitch Perfect or Legally Blonde. I didn’t have to be part of a clique to fit in. I just had to be myself. I don’t spend a lot of time in the dorm, I prefer being out and about during whatever free time I can manage.

George School purposefully keeps you busy. There is hardly time to think of those “what ifs” that I couldn’t get out of my mind at the beginning of the year. When I do get free time, I use it to get ahead on homework. I call my parents on a regular schedule, so I never really missed them that much.

Of course, there were some things with which I struggle. I miss my dog, my bed, and my friends from home. I miss my sisters and home-cooked meals. I recently got sick and I missed having someone to take care of me. Going to a boarding school changes the way you view things. Things that were once important, take a back burner; especially when you go back home. You begin to appreciate life a little more. Small things become important. Like my Mom cooking my favorite meal when I went home for the first time after my birthday or my Dad getting me something that we were talking about on the phone a couple weeks prior.

Being a boarder at George School was like moving from one home to another. My parents and siblings will always be my family, but now I also have dozens of sisters and handfuls of brothers. My dorm parents are my parents away from home. Of all the things George School teaches its students, boarding or day, the most important is that family isn’t about genetics – it’s about who stands by you when you need it the most but deserve it the least.

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Filed under A Day in the Life, dorm life, Students, The Curious George

A Conversation with Kathy Coyle

An interview with Kathy Coyle conducted by Chloe ’16. Check out some of Chloe’s other posts on the blog including: Pumpkin Spice Oreos, Filling Your Empty Canvases (Making a Dorm Room Feel Like a Home, Not a Box), and Speaking of Squirrels.

Hey Kathy!

Hey Chloe

You excited? You look super excited.

I’m so pumped! Continue reading

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Filed under Faculty and Staff, Students

Following Through

by Autumn Atkinson ’13

Editor’s note: Autumn will enter her second year at Sarah Lawrence College this fall. She is a member of the George School Class of 2013, a former prefect, Terra leader, and IB Diploma recipient. 

In 2008 I was flipping through the Georgian my mom received as an alumna. I said “Mom, I’m going to George School.” She didn’t think I was serious, but at that moment I decided that I was going to go to George School. I scurried about filling out the forms and writing the essay. Before I was even accepted I knew there were several things I wanted to earn at George School:

  1. A spot on the tennis team
  2. A prefect position
  3. Admittance to a good college
  4. An IB diploma

As I became a George School student and learned how things worked my mind went crazy with ideas. I wanted to be one of the few seniors who were asked to stand up during the Recognition assembly over and over because they earned Honor Roll and Head of Schools list each term at GS. I wanted to be cast in plays, write really good essays, and learn French inside and out. Oh, I was also on my best behavior because I was terrified of getting in trouble.

Admittedly, I was a bit high strung as a freshman.  My teachers were not shy about commenting on my ‘enthusiasm’ in the first midterm reports. In response to the comments I received relating to my Global Interdependence class Mark Wiley, my advisor at the time, told me that if I wanted to do the IB I would have to do better in my history class. When he said this, I was so hurt because I didn’t know how to do better and I knew he was right.

At George School, I was continuously asked to do things that I didn’t know how to do both in and out of the classroom. I had no idea how to talk to my roommate about difficult things, and I didn’t know how anyone could sit quietly through meeting for worship. I was always really nervous about tests, exams, tennis matches, and being late to check-in.  At the end of my sophomore year, I was faced with the reality that I was growing up quickly and the hardest years of my life were quickly approaching. I was terrified.

To my surprise, my third year at George School was the best of them all. My classes were very challenging but rarely dull. I learned so much about time management, perseverance, friendship, and balance.  I worked hard to make the best of situations and to keep focused on what was important.  What I learned out of the classroom was just as important as learning about French Culture or sustainable sources of electricity since life is constantly throwing you obstacles. At first, I had no idea how to do most of my assignments.  Writing a page for my IB Art Journal was overwhelming and critical essay writing—well getting through the Scarlet Letter was a challenge in itself.  One of the biggest hurdles of junior year is the Culminating Paper. There was nothing to prepare me for the amount of mental clarity that was necessary to write a 4,000 word comparative essay on two great works of literature. However, I cannot express how grateful I am that George School requires a paper of this caliber. The experience made twenty-page papers in college seem easy.

Suddenly my class was leading the campus, applying to colleges, and getting antsy about moving on. I struggled a lot my senior year with the thought of leaving George School because of the uncertainty that lay ahead.  Let me be honest—I have no idea how I made it through that year. I stretched myself a little too thin between being an IB Diploma candidate, a West Main Prefect, and a leader of various clubs like Terra. I learned so much that year, but perhaps the most important thing is something Ralph Lelii told me after a TOK class. He said that no one’s voice or thoughts are more or less important than your own.

Before I knew it IB exams were finished, I had committed to Sarah Lawrence College, senior prom was the most fun I’ve ever had at a dance and I have never felt as settled as I did in Commencement Meeting for Worship. Suddenly I was in my white dress walking towards Nancy Starmer to get my Diploma.

I remember feeling elated and proud just twice in my life so far—once when I received my acceptance letter to George School and the other when I received my George School and International Baccalaureate diplomas.

 

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Filed under Alumni, Life After George School

For the thrill, for the King, for GEORGE SCHOOL!

By Chloe ’16

It’s coming.

What is that green stuff that keeps popping up everywhere? It’s so new… so profound… I have heard stories of this entity, but never have I seen it with mine own eyes!

At least, that’s what it feels like.

For a while there it seemed as though we’d never see grass again, especially after that crazy one-snowstorm-per-week deal Mother Nature made right before exams. But look outside! Because we were under so much pressure from exams and all, a great lot of us failed to notice that there was actual, bonafide, for serious GRASS coming up through the snow. It’s amazazing!

LOOK AT THAT!

snow

Photo credit to Max ’16

 

Now, with the return of grass comes the eventual return of warm weather, and with that comes…

 

YOU GUESSED IT. IT’S FOUR SQUARE SEASON ONCE AGAIN, BABY!

 

Already the post-study hall mob has begun to form nightly on Red Square, despite the chilly weather. The ritual has begun anew, and it is only a matter of time before the (would be) Olympic sport we know as George School four square will commence once more.

Come third term, there will be roars of laughter, shouts of triumph, and cries of defeat as Friend encounters Friend in an ongoing friendly competition for the position of King. To start out as a pawn and (by kicking, shouting, clawing, punting, screaming, debating) finally be crowned King is probably one of the most euphoric feelings on earth. That being said, the rest of the players’ job is to dethrone you, but no matter. It’s a cursed, endless cycle of triumph and disappointment, but we play anyway – for the thrill, for the King,

FOR
GEORGE
SCHOOL!

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Filling Your Empty Canvases (Making a Dorm Room Feel Like a Home, Not a Box)

by Chloe ’16

Chloe is a second year boarding student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a member of the orchestra, a talented artist, and a “geometry and biology wiz this year.” Chloe wrote two of the limericks used in the recent post “For the Birds: Part Four.”

A dorm room is not designed to be a super hangout space. It is meant to house one to two people from 9:30pm to 7:55am, seven days a week. In an empty dorm room, you will not find curtains with butterflies on them or photos of smiling cartoon animals. The beds are gray, the walls are white, and the windows are made so that if one were to try something stupid (teenagers do stupid things, don’t deny it) no one would be hurt. They aren’t meant to be pretty. The chairs in a dorm room are made to keep you awake while you study, and the storage space is… well, let’s just say it is minimal.

But No! Don’t for a second think that these are complaints! A dorm room is not bare to make you feel as though you are a prisoner. The way I see it, a dorm room is so boring to start so that students will have a chance to make it their own. The white walls are yours to do with what you please, and, believe it or not, the beds can be moved. Your room is no prison, it’s a fun-sized palace!

Tips for an awesome room:

  • Color coordination is key. Although it may be hard freshman year (my old roommate had pink everything that, when coupled with my green everything, made our room look a bit like an excited watermelon), discuss what you want the general theme of your room to be with your future roommate before the next year starts.

    Chloe 2

    My room now is the picture of cohesion: a theme of greens and blues that spreads from our rugs to our bed sheets.

  • Decorate. Those aren’t white walls, those are empty canvases! Although you are not allowed to paint the walls, for that would be breaking the rules, you have complete and total freedom to do what you may with your walls so long as it doesn’t offend anyone or break anything (including regulations). You can’t use nails, no. But give a kid four packs of command strips and some duct tape (both available in the student store), and she will find a way to hang her chandelier.

    Chloe 5

    Those aren’t white walls, those are empty canvases!

  • Throw furniture around (not literally). What I mean is change the room from a lesson in parallelity to an abstract work of art. Arranging your beds is the funnest way to make your room something you want to come home to. Try designs like the “L,” the “sisterly love,” the “one-sider,” or the popular “mirror image.”

Don’t be afraid to go the distance to make your room yours, and defy the laws of dormatism. They say that a dorm room is not a hangout space? To that I say only this: We. Will. Make. It. One.

chloe

Chloe and her roommate pose in their dorm room.

Mind the Light and Follow the Blog,

Chloe HD

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Filed under Admission Office, Students

Behind the Scenes of Holiday Weekend

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Juniors Jordan Dunbar, Alice Croom, and Kristine Olsen

Behind the glamour

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Juniors Rachel Keller and Monica Nadeau

and the dresses

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Seniors (and roomies) Buse (Sunny) Duz and Sunyul (Michelle) Kwak

and the smiles

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Dorm head Julia Nickles and hall teacher Courtney Harrigan

are a whole bunch of adults in sweatshirts.  Just as excited as the students.

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Junior Natalie Hackett and Courtney Harrigan

I can’t speak for the boys’ dormitories, but in Main (where sophomore through senior girls reside), watching the students depart for winter formal was one of the highlights of the weekend.

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Hall teacher Michelle Ruess (standing on chair) and dorm head Avis Leverett (in pink shirt)

To me the moment encapsulated everything we try to do as dorm parents: be supportive.  Keep organized.  Take pictures.  With many families far away, we filled that role wholeheartedly, offering hugs and compliments and the occasional advice on footwear.  We wanted each girl to feel as beautiful as she looked.

The girls were stunning, but more importantly, they seemed happy.  They humored the adults who made them pose for photo after photo

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Making C’s for Central (Central Main, our dorm)

and only got a little bit silly.

The holiday festivities continued the following day, with a dorm wide Yankee Swap (hot gift item: pink Snuggie), a candlelit Meeting for Worship with readings and music, and an elegant holiday dinner.  Even the beloved flamingos made an appearance in the Meeting centerpiece!

There are moments when dorm parenting (like real parenting) can seem focused on the humdrum.  Study.  Clean your room.  Call your mother.  These small things are part of building a relationship, and it’s important to have conversations about homework and college and why uneaten tacos shouldn’t be left in the hallway.  But this weekend, it was lovely to simply celebrate the season and the students.  Gathered in Midway with the residents of Main, decked out in their semi-formal finery, I felt every bit the proud parent.  I just happen to have 41 teenage girls.

Top photo by Courtney Harrigan

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