Boarding school life’s highs, lows

SCHOOL-2Xolisani Nyathi Cool Lifestyle Writer
Boarding life . . . here we come.­ As schools have opened, it is unfortunate that life in the bright lights of the city is over. It is now time to focus on books at mission, Government or private schools.

The movies, music and reality television shows are behind and it is time for only the study room, classroom, hostel and the dining room.

Always confined in the same place, boarding life is sometimes fun but it can be boring. From Monday to Friday it is the usual routine of learning, studying and eating during break time, lunch and supper.

During weekends, it feels like a different environment because pupils get some time off the books.

The weekend, to some extent, feels like home, because after study around 12 noon on a Saturday it will be time to hang out or have an interaction for social discussions and then have some entertainment at night, whether watching a movie or having a disco night or debate sessions.

Usually on Sundays, it is church time. This is the time when some naughty students get an opportunity to sneak out if the school is located in town.

If it is a mission school, usually going to church is compulsory and every student has to go to church. Back in the hostel, when there is nothing to do, stories are told, especially on events that transpired during the holiday.

There comes a time when there is the issue of water and electricity shortages in which a near-by borehole will be of help. Both girls and boys have to wake up early in the morning to fetch water and get ready for school. These will be hard times for the pupils and usually a number of boys opt to go without a bath.

There also comes a time when the trunk is empty, when there is nothing to eat but meals at the dining room.

This is the time some pupils start stealing food from others. It is unfortunate but that is part of boarding life.

The time of hunger at a boarding school is when people start eating anything edible that they find.

Pupils resort to mixing maputi and peanut butter and this becomes “Putiflakes” (taken from the name “cornflakes”). Some students resort to eating whilst in blankets to avoid sharing.

Visiting and consultation days at mission schools usually bring relief as parents and guardians bring more shares of hostel grocery.

The visitors also bring fast food selections that are eaten with excitement. It is a time for restocking.

Pupils that would not have been visited can be seen with sad faces, sitting in their dormitories or moving around school, with nothing to do.

Such are the highs and lows of boarding school life.

It is far removed from day schooling that affords pupils luxuries that boarders only get on holidays and exit weekends.

However, pupils and boardings usually score higher marks in exams than those in day schools because the former have strictly monitored studying periods and have less time to play.

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