Boarding life is something very near and dear to many Concord Academy students, myself included. From its literal objective for housing 40% of the school’s population, it has given rise to a niche community that many call home. With that comes the various trappings and traditions that encompass a boarder’s life. From the ever-so entertaining house comps, the Instagram-worthy vespers pictures, to the home-cooked meals by houseparents on Saturdays, there are a lot of things boarders can look forward to while they are on campus.
However, due to the given pandemic, a lot of changes had to be made. The everyday
hustle and bustle of the semester quickly transitioned into virtual classes, new schedules, and a host of unique experiences. What I argue was the most drastic change, however, was boarding life. Boarders come from a host of different places; from across the street to the other side of the world. It is hard saying goodbye to a campus where you have spent a large part of your life. Simple things like the daily check-ins by your Head of House or your house group chat going off because of some funny meme quickly evaporated. Sure, there were some attempts to rekindle the unique relationship of boarding life. Still, it became more and more of a formality rather than something you would enjoy before quickly falling apart as time progressed. After a while, you even start to miss those dreaded house jobs!
Hope started to develop when CA reopened its houses as a pilot run. A few boarding students quickly returned to campus while undergoing strict guidelines and testing protocols. It is important to note that students living on campus were at a far higher risk of exposure to COVID than day students, who would have minimal opportunities for contacts. Thankfully, the pilot program was a success and a larger reopening of both the school and the houses occurred in January. I returned to campus in the January batch, and I am so glad I did. Rules set in place were still strictly enforced. Masks on everyone except your room, no eating in the common room and not entering any of the other boarding houses except yours was quite a bummer. Nevertheless, boarding life persisted, even with missing members and the fact that we are in a global pandemic. I would argue that many of my fondest memories even formed during this short time and led me to be a part of Boarding Council.
At this time of writing, Concord Academy plans to return to campus with vaccinations required for students and minimal requirements on campus for COVID. I envision a far more “normal” school year and, likewise, a far more “normal” school year. In a few more days, I will be returning to campus with the rest of BC a bit earlier to brainstorm new plans, ideas, and events as we tackle this school year. I am not totally sure what this year will hold (and considering the last two, I have come to the conclusion that anything could happen), but I am confident that boarding this year will be truly memorable, regardless if it is your last year here or your first.