How I've grown at Peddie

Claire '20 had lots of questions about what it would be like to board at Peddie. After her first year as a new junior, she has gained confidence, become more responsible and learned how to lead. And she's found a family away from home too.

A year ago, I was just beginning to grasp the reality of leaving my home and my friends in Singapore to start a new life in New Jersey. I had been living in Asia for the last six years, and I would be leaving the people, the place and the culture in which I grew up. 

My family’s move to the United States left me immensely confused because I had so many mixed feelings. I was scared to start over at a new school, with completely different classes and  new expectations. I was nervous about finding new friends. I had never attended a boarding school, and the idea of living without my family made me uneasy. But I was also excited to move to Peddie and looked forward to meeting new people. I also recognized this move as an opportunity to experience and learn new things in a different environment. 

Would my roommate and I get along? How often would I see my parents? Would I live in the same dorm as my friends? Questions like these raced through my brain throughout the summer and still nagged at me even as our car, stuffed with dorm furniture and school supplies, rolled into Peddie’s campus on orientation day.

I shouldn’t have worried so much. Peddie’s community embraced me from the moment I introduced myself at orientation. I’ve never had much trouble getting to know new people and making friends, but something about Peddie, the feeling of family and affinity among the students, made this even easier. I quickly bonded with new and old students at orientation, in the dorms and during classes. It felt like I had been here all my life.

Throughout the school year, I became a more confident, outspoken and open-minded person. I have become more open to expressing my ideas and trying new things. I used to be afraid to participate in a new sport or join a club. I stuck with what I knew I was good at - horse riding - and joined clubs mostly because my friends did. At Peddie, just in the last year, I have become comfortable exploring new activities. I’m now a member of three clubs and have competed in two new sports which I enjoy very much. I am most proud to be a part of Dynasty, Peddie’s dance group. I never imagined myself to be comfortable with performing in front of a crowd, especially in front of the entire school at the Peddie-Blair Day pep rally.

Boarding at Peddie has also made me considerably more responsible. I know how to manage my time better and I have figured out my own routine. Living with students from all over the country and the world has given me a more diverse perspective. I was immersed in a variety of different cultures with dorm mates from Sweden to the Cayman Islands. Last year, I would often come back from classes and be greeted by the tunes of Spanish or Caribbean music flowing through the halls of Caspersen, or one of my friends asking me to explain something in history to her because she was having trouble with the Swedish to English translation. 

In just one year, I have grown from being a follower and someone who makes decisions submissively, to a leader who knows their goals and is determined to achieve them. I feel like I am a completely different person - but maybe I have just begun to grow into the person I’m supposed to be.

Learn more about Peddie and dorm living or plan your visit.