Trading Places: Being Both a Day Student and a Boarder
by The Milton Measure on Friday, November 16th, 2012Students come to Milton Academy from a variety of places; some reside as boarders on campus; others commute to school from places around the Boston area. Some members of the Milton community, however, have experienced both ways of life.
During their years at Milton, for a variety of reasons, some Milton students choose to switch from being a Day student to a being a Boarder, or vice-versa. Whether a student chooses to live in a dorm or at home, the academic experience at Milton remains consistent; however, the extracurricular aspects of both experiences are quite different. Does the time commuting to and from school equal the time spent participating in mandatory dorm activities? Does Flik Dining Services satisfy hunger the same way that a home-cooked meal does?
While it is less common for boarders to become day students, some students find dorm life unsuitable to the demands of their high school lives. Eric Zhang (III) spent his freshman year in Norris House, but became a day student at the start of his sophomore year. While Eric loved the experience of living in a dorm, he still struggled. Eric added, “instead of gaining the ‘freshman fifteen’, I lost it. I was feeling sick and getting bad grades.”
Another important factor for Eric was commuting time. A competitive swimmer, Eric would wake up very early to be able to get to swim practices held off campus. “Now that I’m a day student, it only takes me fifteen minutes [to get to swim practice] and half an hour to school.”
While Eric doesn’t regret becoming a day student, he misses the experience of living in a dorm. “I’m an only child. When I lived in Norris, I felt like I had forty brothers around all of the time.”
The switch was simple for Eric; after talking to his advisor about his decision, Eric began his sophomore year as a day student. “I imagine that that process [to change from a day student to a boarder] is much more extensive!” He insists that his relationships with his friends from Norris have remained strong.
Liam McNeil (I) has seen the transition from both sides: Starting at Milton as a day student, Liam switched to boarding in Norris House after his freshman year, only to return to being a day student this fall.
Waking up at 5:15 to travel from his home in Bridgewater, Liam would arrive at Milton at 7:00 every day so that his father could return on time to his job as a firefighter. Sleep deprivation and late hockey practices led to a myriad of illnesses and injuries, forcing Liam to move onto campus. He enjoyed the boarding experience, saying, “Everyone in my dorm was my family…we all shared our space: everyone was welcome everywhere [in the dorm].”
While he liked boarding, Liam decided that he really wanted to be a day student. Switching back off-campus for personal reasons, he has figured out a way to balance his academic life with his athletic endeavors.
“It’s a lot easier for me to get to school now that I’m a senior!” said Liam. With his own driver’s license, Liam no longer has to be dropped off an hour before school starts. Liam must get to bed earlier, however, to wake up in time for his hour-long commute to school each morning. “I know to concentrate on doing more work during my free time [at school] so I don’t have [as much] stuff to do when I get home.”
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