12 Solutions to Common Boarding School Problems

Most problems in boarding school can be solved pretty easily. Chances are you are not the only one who has encountered one, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from an adult or older student on campus. And follow these helpful suggestions if all else fails.

  1. Super tired? Not enough sleep? Try power-napping for 30 minutes (just enough time to get some REM sleep so you will feel refreshed) when you can. Or, sleep in (obviously) on the weekends ,and take a nap to make up for lost zzzzzs.
  2. Stain on your clothing? Spilled something in the dining hall? Keep stain wipes or laundry pre-spray in your dorm room to treat the stain before it sets in. Then, once it is washed, it usually comes out!
  3. Stomach ache? Keep a small “first aid” kit with saltine crackers, a few cans or small bottles of ginger ale, and antacid tablets to treat yourself before having to head to the health center.
  4. Hungry after hours? Save money by keeping non-perishable snacks in your room in a sealed container or ziplock bag. Fruit leathers, granola bars, instant oatmeal, mac and cheese or cup o’noodles can hit the spot to tide you over.
  5. Panicked about a test or paper? After seeing your teacher first and foremost, be sure to take advantage of your school’s academic support services. Student tutors or academic support are usually available on all campuses in set evening or weekend hours. Be sure you use these free resources at your fingertips.
  6. Need formal attire and don’t have any? Knock on the door(s) of some dormmates that are about your size and see if you can borrow a sports coat, fancy dress, or shoes. Be sure to return the items cleaned, though, or in better condition than they were when you received them.
  7. Need a date? Have a friend you trust set you up. Or, better yet, ask a friend you know from class to accompany you to a dance or social function.
  8. Feeling homesick? Skype, text, email, call, or write an old-fashioned letter. Hearing voices or seeing faces of loved ones helps. So do care packages (so drop some hints!) and family photos (post a few around your room, on your screensaver, or phone display). Or see about eating a meal or spending the night at a day student’s home (see #9 below).
  9. Need a haircut, ride to a doctor, or a home cooked meal? Befriend some day students. These relationships will really help with some last-minute issues that arise or needs that are much easier met with the help of “parents.”
  10. Overlslept and missed class? Be honest, come clean and own up to it. Tell your house counselor and teacher, and accept the “tardy.” We all make mistakes. Be sure to talk to the teacher and classmates about what you missed in class as well and make up that work in a timely manner.
  11. Need an item fast (toothbrush, textbook, birthday gift)? Amazon Prime is worth the annual investment for free shipping on (almost) anything!
  12. Lost your dorm keys? Be sure you use a colorful and different lanyard or key chain than your classmates’. Obviously retrace your steps, email/text your dormmates to keep a look out, check the campus lost and found and, if that fails, contact the public safety office to purchase a new set. Usually, if you do locate the missing ones, you can get your money back on your replacement keys.

About Justin:

Justin Muchnick
Justin Muchnick

A fourth year student at Phillips Academy Andover, Justin is a two-time captain of the varsity wrestling team, serves on the Athletic Advisory Board, participates in the chess club, and works as a campus tour guide. He is also the current recipient of Andover’s Thorndike Internship in Historical Biography. The program annually supports the work of an third year student selected by the chair of the history department for the purpose of researching and writing a biographical article of an alumnus or alumna of Phillips or Abbot academies for publication in the Andover Archives. Justin is also currently writing the Teens’ Guide to College and Career Planning (Peterson’s, December 2015, 12th ed.). He is the author of The Boarding School Survival Guide (Peterson’s Publishing, 2014) and the co-author of Straight-A Study Skills (Adams Media, 2013), and he is a front matter contributor to Peterson’s 2014–15 Private Secondary Schools guide. He is also a journalist for The Bootleg (www.scout. com), Stanford University’s sports news website, where he publishes articles about college football. Recently, Justin became the youngest Charter Content Creator for Yoursports.com, a social publishing platform for sports. His academic interests include reading, writing, Latin, and modern American history. When he is not at boarding school, he lives with his three younger siblings (Jacob, Ross, and Alexa) and his parents in Newport Beach, CA. He is an avid fan of Star Wars and Rocky and is addicted to the P90X workout DVDs. Justin is in Andover’s class of 2016.

Follow him on facebook at The Boarding School Survival Guide, his web site www.justinmuchnick.com or twitter @BoardingSchl.

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