One of the things I value is learning and I was taking to a friend last week about how lucky I was that my parents sacrificed a lot to send my siblings and I to boarding school. We certainly got to experience something really unique and it expanded our horizons. Being the youngest it was quite bizzare that I would watch my siblings being dropped off at twelve years old and I no longer saw them everyday.
But then it came my turn. Thank god I had my older sister to feel a little secure but boy it was certainly a case of being a fish out of water. I am naturally quite shy and have never really felt like I fitted anywhere. All of a sudden I am in this place with complete strangers and literally living with them. That was a little bit of an adjustment and soon found that even though we didn’t know one another we could stick together to ride the huge wave when we went to school.
I had been to one school in my local town, it had about 80 students and was a pretty free existence where everyone knew everyone. This is the first time I had been at another school and was a huge shock to the system – there were so many people and I had to wear a uniform! There was a way to do things but I didn’t know what to do, where to be, how to get there and nothing felt comfortable. I couldn’t even eat what I wanted – instead 80 people launching for a tray of recess all at the same time was definitely a unique experience, I think I went without for a while as it was a tad overwhelming. There were so many rules and then add a bit of homesickness to the mix, I was completely lost and on edge.
Even though it was so awkward, uncomfortable, hard, I ultimately knew that there was no going home – Mum was pretty tough on that one! I had to stick it out and find the way. This was supposed to be good for me and it felt anything but that at the beginning.
When we start something new it has its own challenges, our insecurities can come out to play. its like being in another world and everything is alien. But then we adjust, adapt, learn and then it becomes the way things are. It takes time to learn how to navigate a new culture, almost like a new way of being. The good news is that I did finish my 5 years at boarding school and I look back fondly at many memories and often wonder if that hadn’t happened in my life where would I be. It was rocky to begin with but eventually I found my feet and managed to get though.
I am telling you this as sometimes it can seem too hard, overwhelming and foreign when we are facing something new. Whether its starting a new role, going to an new organisation, a new relationship or as many will be experiencing in the next couple of days – going to boarding school – it is a case of taking it one step at a time and know that it may be a little wobbly while you learn to walk. Taking it step by step you can go quite way especially when you have others helping you. And hopefully one day you will look back and be amazed at how far you have come and what that experience had taught you along the way.