How to master boarding life

My name is Declan Crombie, and I come from Babakin, a town in the Wheatbelt [that is roughly three hours east of Perth].

I was always going to go to boarding school, but I didn't know which one.

My dad was a Scotch old boy, so that helped, and he started telling me stories about what it was like when he was here, so I started to think that it would be a great opportunity.

Mum and Dad looked at a couple of other schools, but then we ended up choosing Scotch as the best place for me to be.

In the term before I got here, we did online lessons where we got to meet the other boys coming into my year in boarding, Mr Mecham, Mrs Hannington and Mr Owenell, and some of the current students. We got to ask a lot of questions and did some activities that got us used to using our iPad.

When I first got to Scotch, I got very homesick for the first two weeks.

I started to settle in, getting used to the routines, and after I realised that this was going to be kind of like a second home, I started to enjoy the boarding experience. I met a lot of day boys in my first few weeks, and all the boarders started to bond as we began to talk and tell stories.

Our House Parent, Mrs Hannington, was a very good help. She would check on us every morning and make sure we were feeling good. If we were a bit homesick, she would help us through it. I started making more friends through sport, and that helped distract me from feeling homesick.

The only real time that I became homesick after the first two weeks was for a couple of weeks after the July school holidays, just because it had been a long time since I had been boarding and I had forgotten what it was like, so it took me a week to get back into my rhythm.

Some advice that I would give the new Year 7s would be to branch out and try and make as many friends inside and outside of the Boarding House as you can. Get involved in activities on the weekends and sports outside of school. It is good to be busy on the weekend and stops you from thinking of home.

My main bit of advice is to just be yourself, and people will like and respect you for who you are. Don't be afraid to ask for any help if you're having trouble because the teachers and boarding staff are very understanding and will try their best to help you.

Declan Crombie
Year 8