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  • Maya Chavez

Day vs. Boarder: Who Has It Better?

Tight-knit Barrows residents gather together for a holiday gift exchange.

Is life better as a day student or a boarder? Boarders can wake up later, return to a warm room during rainy days, and interact with teachers outside of the school day. While day students have the freedom of a car and a home-cooked meal. Both kinds of students have drastically different lifestyles that fundamentally impact their high school experiences.   

First, their daily routines vary. Day students wake up at a variety of times, ranging approximately from 6:30-7:30 am. Students who live closer often start their day by leaving their house at 8 am, while farther students leave their house at 7 am to beat the traffic. However, boarding students have the luxury of being able to sleep in until 8 am. While class schedules between students are roughly similar, the big point of difference is free periods. Boarders have the freedom to head back to their rooms, which senior Sarah Vanoli says is one of the aspects of boarder life she covets: “Especially during the winter when it's raining, it just sounds so cozy to be able to go back to your room which is like 20 feet from Rosen.” Junior Amaya Chadha explains her day when she has an early out: “I'd go get lunch with my mom or just go back home and relax a little bit. If I have a free period during the school day, I try to finish my work.” The freedom of leaving the school environment entirely and going back home to increase productivity through isolation when studying or leaving campus to go on a relaxing beach drive are all facets of day student life that are incredibly beneficial. 

Although day students are able to retreat back into the comfort of their own home during free periods or after school, day students miss out on quality time with friends that boarding students consider invaluable. Going through his morning routine, senior Gabriel Hao explains that he takes a “long breakfast” so that he can “talk to friends.” Sophomore Vincent Pierre elaborates on this point as a day student: “I would say a good thing about being a boarder is that you get really close with everyone. Because a lot of times I don't see my friends often, but if I was on campus and I had to be there, I'd probably get closer with them.” Hao resolves that the added time with his friends creates bonds that make the Stevenson experience even better. While boarders may not have the comfort of family in their living environment, Hao explains that it is made up through the strong relationships he creates as a boarding student: “I feel like you get tighter with your friends. And that also helps a lot in terms of feeling more at home in the dorms. As a sophomore, When I first came here, it was not like home. But senior year I have had the most fun with friends in the dorms. And [during your] senior year, you just start to work on building relationships with younger students, especially as a prefect…I hear about their life and see how their school life is different than ours and how their experience is new.”

There is no question that boarding students create connections with people they might not have known if they were day students. In addition to this connection with peers, Hao explains the added connection with Stevenson teachers he has harbored. He shares, “Mr. Lips never taught me math, but I know him because we live together and we’ve had a really fun time with him being [something] like my parent in the dorms. Knowing him and feeling confident with him when I’m having trouble with math. Even though he doesn’t teach me he still gives me a lot of help.” Junior Wonjin Eum adds, “I think it's really funny to see how your teachers are dressed up professionally in the classrooms, and then they’ll be in the dorms, with their dog and wearing their slippers.” Life as a boarder allows students to break down the walls of a traditionally intimidating student-teacher relationship and instead create a more meaningful mentor/mentee or parental relationship.

Both lifestyles offer varied senses of independence. Many boarders state their top wish would be to have a car. Day students are blessed with the freedom to leave campus as they please, whereas boarders can often feel a bit trapped. On the other hand, boarders are living on their own. There are countless resources like prefects and dorm faculty to support them, but in reality, they are living away from family and living an incredibly independent life.


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