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What’s boarding like at Wenona? This week, Jessica, our new Boarding Prefect for 2018-2019, gave us the lowdown on food, friends and fitting in.
“To answer all your burning questions, yes, the food is getting better! We usually get burgers or sandwiches for lunch. I’m sharing a room with Annabelle (Year 11), who keeps cinnamon and turmeric on her desk. And yes, we are allowed out on weekends. Let’s just say as boarders, we learn to appreciate the little things in life like a home-cooked meal, sleeping in your own bed or even just having time to yourself.
Being a boarder is much more than you’d imagine. We are challenged to get along with people who we might not always choose to be with. We make friendships with girls from all year groups and from different cultural backgrounds, so we are naturally made to find our own sense of belonging beyond our home environments.
When immersing yourself into a community of 48 girls, who all come from different places, are different nationalities and share different beliefs and cultures, it can be hard to find your own sense of belonging. Sometimes you feel ‘imperfect’, because what is familiar to you may not be to other people. For example, I come from Singapore and Annabelle comes from Narromine. The change in customs and culture are evident. I am not even on my L’s while Annabelle learnt to drive in the country from the age of 5. At times you feel different because the girls around you do things differently to the way you do them back home. Truthfully, it is your differences that make you special and make you who you are. The feelings of imperfection are normal, and there are times when you feel like you can’t relate to the people around you. When your friends don’t celebrate a culture from back home or speak your native language, this does not mean that you are imperfect, it means that you are you. It is your own uniqueness which brings something special to the table, allowing you to feel a sense of belonging.
In a boarding community, it’s safe to say that living with your closest friends can be tiring, particularly when you know each other’s little imperfections. We all have our quirks, but as a community, I believe we should embrace and celebrate what makes us unique. One of the things that makes me different is my sneeze, which I’ve been told sounds like a drowning dolphin. Eliza hates feet on bed. Anna and Jill speak three languages. Chloe collects groovy socks. Lily can’t swallow tablets without chewing them first. Kate is not afraid to put yoghurt and muesli on her toast, while Portia puts chilli in everything. Last week, I caught her putting chilli on her fish and chips!
But this is where boarders learn true courage and strength. The diversity of the boarding house teaches us tolerance as you can’t always choose who you share a room with. You can’t always get along with everyone you meet, and that’s life! Sometimes all you can do is find an equal balance and adapt to each other’s differences. At the end of each day you come back to the girls in the boarding house, and honestly, I don’t know what I would do without them. The time that I have felt truly loved and supported by my friends in the boarding house was last month when I lost my best friend. As a boarder, when something tragic happens, you don’t have your family with you. For me, it was my boarding friends that I went to for support. Eliza took me out for a walk. Biafra said something inspirational. Libby gave me a back crack. Neve was always there for a chat. Georgia was there for a hug. Annabelle made me my favourite French English tea, and we prayed as she sang to me while tucking me into bed.
Being different can be associated with imperfection, where the fear of judgement and not being liked or accepted can alter the way you think of yourself. I believe that being able to accept and understand each other’s differences and celebrate our own quirks makes everyone closer. The word ‘imperfect’ simply spells out ‘I’m perfect’ because everyone is perfect in their own unique ways. No two people are the same. But instead it creates a society that celebrates individuality!”
Jessica (Year 11)