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23 Things That Happen To You At A British Boarding School

Almost none of these involve discovering that you’re a wizard.

1. You find yourself sharing a room with 15 girls called Saskia.

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2. Or you’re one of an army of Toms, Bens and Maxs.

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3. None of that matters, though, because you’re always called by your surname.

4. People keep asking you if your school is like Hogwarts.

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5. Which is really annoying.

6. Because, if anything, it’s more like Downton Abbey.

Seriously. Look at these boarding schools right here.

Sherfield School

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7. Despite this, boarding school life isn’t as glamorous as you might expect. For a start, communal showers are a part of your life now.

It’s just like Orange is the New Black, except that no one’s in prison.

8. And when a more experienced boarder shows you how to quickly origami a towel to protect your modesty, it changes your life.

9. You have to learn a whole new vocabulary.

This differs from school to school, but will probably include ‘mufti’ (civilian dress) and ‘prep’ or ‘banco’ (homework). You probably won’t need to worry about ‘fagging’ unless you’re at Eton, though.

10. This probably won’t happen to you, sorry.

This only happens in very particular films about boarding schools.

11. This might, though.

Japes, man. Japes.

12. You don’t understand what people from other schools mean by ‘years’.

“Oh, you’re in Year 9? I’m in lower 4G. Um, is that the same?”

13. And the way the stairs constantly move around really confuses you.

Oh no, that’s actual Hogwarts. Sorry.

14. Tuck shops. Tuck shops happen to you.

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Yep, there is a sweet shop exclusively for you in the building that you live in. KitKats and Twixes whenever you want them. Welcome to the 1%.

15. You completely lose touch with your favourite TV shows.

You have to share a TV with 300 other people, what you watch is down to majority rule, and there’s no wifi in the dormitories. Still, that’s what school holidays and Netflix are for.

16. You stare wistfully out of the window as the day pupils go home, coveting their evening plans.

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“What’s like to have an entire bedroom to yourself?” You wonder. “What do they do at the weekends? Laserquest? Is Laserquest still a thing?”

17. Meanwhile, you’re grateful for any trips that take you out of school, no matter where they’re to.

Yes, even there.

18. There’s always an older boarder who will make it their job to look out for you.

19. Until you pay it forward to someone smaller and more scared than you.

20. In fact, you develop an amazing sibling bond with your fellow boarders.

You eat together, sleep together, stress about exams together, and make the same hideous fashion and beauty mistakes at the same time.

21. And this closeness comes in especially useful when you sneak out after lights-out only to get caught by a prefect…

22. …. But the prefect turns out to be a boarder, too, and lets you off.

Proving that what they say about boarding schools is true: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

And finally…

23. Troll in the dungeon!

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Ah no, that’s Hogwarts again. Sorry.

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