Every year, we are asked hundreds of questions about our school and life here on campus in northern New Hampshire. What are the advantages of attending a boarding school over a day school? What do students do on the weekends? There are Saturday classes?
One common question is How long does it take the average freshman to feel adjusted to life at boarding school? We know that freshman year can be intimidating, especially for someone new to boarding school. And our freshman seminar program is a way to help students transition into a new school and a new way of life. Created and enacted by Matthew Toms, the Director of the Student Assistance Program, freshman seminar meets four times a year and provides time and space for our newest (and youngest) students to process life and their new home at a boarding school. The seminar goes a long way in making our freshmen feel comfortable their first year on campus.
Matthew Toms outlines the structure and energy that the seminar has provided this year:
“Freshman seminar has been a ton of fun. The freshman class is so engaged and eager to learn! The seminar provides them with the knowledge, tools and skills necessary to help them navigate high school, with all of its many challenges, more effectively. In September, we focused on adolescent development. We followed up with a session on refusal and good decision-making skills in December. At our last meeting, we discussed being effective communicators. I am really looking forward to our final session on coping skills later this year.”
Our students have also expressed the advantages of this program. Gabriel Hernandez, a freshman from New York, spoke about the benefits of this opportunity: “Communication is key in boarding school. And freshman seminar gives you the opportunity to learn how to talk to a friend or trustworthy adult no matter how big or small a problem is – no matter what, the skills we learn here will definitely benefit us in the future.”