First time at boarding school? Here’s some advice.

Going away to boarding school is thrilling, but it can also be a little scary. Tour guide Nadia Bhatti ’19 shares some advice for your first days at Peddie.

I first came to Peddie when I was 14 years old. Gazing at the vast array of red brick buildings, I felt excited, but nervous as I watched other students seem to navigate their way easily from one building to the other. I was a little afraid to ask where the next POCO (that’s Peddie On-Campus Orientation, but nobody calls it that) stop was, and I was not at all prepared for my first week of classes. I spent so much time stressing about how hard it was to adapt to a new environment, especially so far away from the 365 days of sunlight in my home state of Texas. While those first days at Peddie were tough to adjust to, looking back, I realize just how grateful I am to be a student here and what lessons I’ve learned that I hope to pass down to the new class of Peddie freshmen.  

The best advice I can give to anyone setting foot on campus for the first time is to take it one day at a time. It is intimidating to leave an environment that you’ve grown accustomed to. However, the good thing is that every other student has felt or is feeling the same nervousness and excitement as you. That small factor aids you in finding people to talk to, people to walk to classes with, and even people to cry with when you are missing home. I don’t know how far I would’ve gotten freshman year if it weren’t for my friend Sarah coming into my room every other night during study hall to complain about the abundance of reading gifted by Mr. Onion in English class.  

The second piece of advice I can offer is to know your own academic strengths and weaknesses, and take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you by your teachers and faculty. You are going to have ups and downs your first week at Peddie - everyone does -  but there are plenty of people here to help you handle and navigate these hurdles; learning to ask for their support will aid you in the long run. Go to extra help, or take out time during your day to adjust to the new workload. Want to escape the stress? Talk to your prefects. The reality is that almost everyone goes through the grind, and the grind only gets better when you have a community to help you through it. Everyone around you is an example you can look up to because they have lived through the story you’re telling now. Don’t be afraid to embrace that.

After taking that advice from some of my senior peers when I was a freshman, I quickly learned and grew accustomed to Peddie’s culture. I matured quickly and learned how to make the best use of my time, an essential skill to have as you advance through high school and into college. Peddie has made me a better person and community member, whether it be something big such as preparing for family-style every Monday night or something as little as holding the door open as a force of habit. Each one of Peddie’s traditions, like Blair Day and Vespers helped shape for me what it means to be a Peddie student, and what it means to be part of the Peddie family. I am so excited for you to experience your first bonfire or your first win on the field or in the pool. It is then, when you join your team or cast members and shout the Ala Viva, that you truly realize you are home.

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