I arrived in Concord, Massachusetts in February 2021 after having spent my first few months of ninth grade at home on a Zoom screen. I was excited to attend a new school, but the pandemic lockdown had numbed my social side down quite a bit. So, when I entered the Wheeler, my new home away from home for the next year and a half, I kept my expectations low.

Nevertheless, my original indifference toward boarding life was quickly struck down. I was placed into a single room due to COVID restrictions, but everyone on my floor quickly got to know each other. The house parents and Head of House quickly introduced themselves to me with enthusiasm and care. Even though I have never attended a boarding school before, I quickly adapted to my new community and way of life. Looking back, it was amazing how quickly I found a new sense of belonging as an international student in this new school. I have my first-year Wheeler cohort to thank for that.

Boarding life at Concord Academy merges community and individuality. The house parents and students live in a tight-knitted social web. Community events are ample and fun. Dorms are automatically locked before school ends so ensure that boarders and day students form connections with each other. At the same time, students gain a high level of autonomy and respect from adults on campus under the tenet of common trust. Students are truly able to experience the best of both worlds of CA as a boarder.

During free time, boarders also have the privilege to visit an extended campus, where we can access many restaurants, supermarkets, and other businesses and sites Concord has to offer. We also get to visit other places over the weekend, given that a student submits a special pass that gets approved by a house parent. Exploring Boston is always fun to do with friends. The possibilities are endless if you have the time and willingness to set out on an urban adventure.

I would like to end by saying that being a boarder at CA has been one of the best experiences I have had in the last three years. To incoming boarders: I hope that you will enjoy it for the next four years of your life. You will be able to form life-long experiences and friendships in this wonderful place.