I hated Boarding School.
When I got a job, we had to do a security check and a character analysis. One of the requirements of the character analysis was for us to write a short essay on your life.
I wrote mine and added,' I HATED boarding school. I was miserable the entire time.'
My poor dad had a big shock reading that statement when i asked him to go through the essay. He had no idea.
It was bad. *sighs* very bad.
I grew up in the era of the federal unity schools. Those days, they were the best schools in Nigeria and there was always intense competition during the admissions process. Parents literally sent their kids all over the country just to attend these schools. Needless to say, there was a lot of traveling. Mine sent me to one four hours away.
Imagine! As if schools had finished in Lagos.
Anyway, at first I felt very good with myself. I had the best result in my primary school, so my admission was easy. My parents were happy and boasted to everybody how brilliant I was. Lol.
Boarding school turned out to be different from what I expected.
It was hard, it was brutal, it was survival of the fittest.
And sadly I was ill equipped.
It started with my arrival at the school. I knew I was going there but I didn't know when. My parents had been steadily buying all the items on the list given to them by the school.
Big box, check.
Bedspread and blanket, check.
Metal Bucket, check.
Cutlass, check. (in fact that should have given me an idea of the kind of place i was going) I was 9 years old for goodness sake. I had never even seen a cutlass before prior to that point.
Basket sandal, check.
You would think they would sit me down and explain some things to me.
No! My mum just bundled me in the car without saying where we were going and suddenly I was in a strange town, a strange school, strange set up. We did the registration, and suddenly she had to go. She gave me about a hundred naira pocket money and off she went.
I was like a fish out of water. It all seemed so strange to me. There, I was nobody. I wasn't the most brilliant nor oldest, nor the youngest. I was just one in a large number of girls. (oh have I mentioned it was a girls school). Double wahala.
Girls can be vicious. And I learnt that the hard way.
First we were like 60 girls in one dormitory, packed together like sandwich. You would think we weren't paying school fees.
Then you had to deal with the thieves. Kai! Those girls can steal for days. Your pants, bra, shirts, skirts,money, food, buckets,nothing was sacred.
You also had to deal with seniors. The fear of those seniors was the Beginning of wisdom. They invented punishments from hell. It was funny when I entered the university and started meeting them. One who slapped me for not fetching her water on time was my boyfriend's friends sister, another was his ex girlfriend, my house captain was my friend's boyfriend's sister. Another was even my junior in the university. Don't ask me how that happened.
Then the water. That was the worst. Water was never enough.
Mehn! I became an expert in flushing the toilet cleanly and expertly with as little water as possible.
We had a borehole miles and miles away. You had to log 2/3 buckets of water to your hostel on the other end. It was hard, back breaking work. And that was if a "senior pangolo" didnt commandeer you to leave your bucket and carry her own to her hostel. Inevitably the water was usually finished before you got back, and your buckets stolen. On a bad day she will even add your buckets to her own and you had to carry every darn thing.
I still dream about that borehole. Eish!
The supernatural wasn't left out. Most boarding schools have their myths. Ours was "Mr Man". A mystical man who visited the students at night. The puzzling aspect was that he had existed since the school had been established so one knew if he was human or supernatural. It was impossible for one man to be terrorizing the school since inception.
Legend had it he rubbed himself with vaseline thereby making him difficult to catch. We used to use a bunk to cover the doors but he somehow always entered the dormitory.
I didn't believe until one day.
The school was on midterm break and I and some other girls chose not to go home.
We slept off as usual and at midnight, I felt something touch me and I suddenly woke up.
And saw a very dark man smiling beside my bunk
I screamed and the whole dormitory woke up. That scream was epic!
But he had disappeared.
I had joined the people with the doubtful honour of seeing Mr Man.
Inevitably, my grades suffered. My grades dropped steadily from that first year till my SS2 when I finally became a senior and moved to art class.
Except for that mathematics. Lol. I never quite managed to like it or understand it.
Then I moved to another school. Imagine! Just when I was supposed to start enjoying my seniority.
I hated boarding school. None of my kids is going to go to any boarding school except maybe if they are like my sister. We weren't in the same school but She thrived in boarding school. Everyone fell in love with her. She was made class captain, entered beauty competitions etc.
Me not so much! I was a quiet child whose ass should have been back in Lagos as a day student with me having a support network.
I needed that encouraging structure which helped me in primary school.
I am like a cat,stroke me and I purr even louder. Lol!
I do better, I do bigger, I do the best.
So what's your boarding school story?
Whats your opinion about boarding schools?