Learning to be respectful in a shared space
Riley Bomford is a leader at Calrossy Anglican School, a boarding school in Tamworth. From a farm near Barraba, the 17 year-old, Year 12 student has taken everything boarding has to offer since starting at Calossy in Year 7.
An outgoing student, he has every intention of utilising his experiences to build a career in law, hoping to become a solicitor and eventually a barrister.
Highlights for Riley have included school itself, the courses (in English and history), and the social aspects of being with mates and meeting new people, as well as boarding. He spoke to Boarding Schools Expo about his time at Calrossy.
What did you hope to gain from boarding at Calrossy?
I loved boarding from the start. The idea of gaining a sense of independence is very appealing. Even though I had very little idea what boarding was going to be like, I was looking forward to meeting new people, living in a new town, and facing new challenges.
Boarding can be challenging…or not
What was it like for you leaving home and settling into a new ‘home’ environment at school? What did you do to help you settle in?
I would argue it was a more seamless transition from home to boarding. To me, it was a very exciting prospect, and I looked forward to it. I would also argue, however, it’s often very easy to just keep to yourself in new and daunting situations. I guess I was willing to put myself out there, getting to know the people I was living with, as the chances were they were also feeling a bit foreign or displaced!
The most unique part of boarding is you’re living with other people, and you learn to be respectful in a shared space…They’re lessons that are often not learned until much later in life.
What were some of the challenges you’ve faced over your time boarding? How did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges in boarding is joint living. Boarding is a team effort, and if you’re used to rooming alone or having your own space (as I was), it may often be frustrating. A great boarding environment comes from a cohesive group, but that’s easier said than done. It’s only natural that as humans we have traits or behaviours that over time can irritate others in such a close environment. Accepting that everyone is different, and focusing on the factors that unite each other is often a good solution. But that’s common across all boarding communities.
Boarding is a unique experience
What’s the best thing about being a boarder? How would you describe it to someone who knows nothing or little of boarding?
The best thing about being a boarder is living with your best mates. I always describe boarding to newcomers as being “the longest sleepover of your life so far…but you’ll love it!” Being able to play sport, study, talk, and live with your closest mates is an opportunity which doesn’t come up too often. I find that the best moments in boarding are the simple times, when you’re talking to your mates, or to new people. Nothing grand, but they’re the moments I’ve come to love.
What do you think are the most unique parts of a boarding experience that you’ll take with you in life?
The most unique part of boarding is you’re living with other people, and you learn to be respectful in a shared space. It almost fast-tracks maturity, as you’re learning to both put up with others, and act in a way which is cohesive for the boarding environment. They’re lessons that are often not learned until much later in life.
What advice would you have for someone thinking about boarding as an educational option?
I’ve always been told that school is the best time of your life. I believe that entirely. Boarding especially – you’re living with some of your best mates, and you’re learning to take responsibility and take care of a shared living space. You’re exposed to the independence of life at an early age, whilst making close friends you’re ultimately living with. With study, you have access to staff and student assistance, meaning you’re not left in the lurch when the burden of school work comes around. All in all, boarding is definitely a good way of learning life lessons whilst having the best fun of your life.