Katie Powers: An Insider Scoop on the Transition from Boarding School to College

Katie Powers is a sophomore from Boston intending to major in finance and minor in psychology minor. She reflects on her transition from boarding school in the Northeast to college in the South giving an insider perspective into the parallels between these two different stages of independence and life away from home.

Her Campus: Where did you go to boarding school and how did you like it?

Katie Powers: I went to boarding school at the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. Having two older siblings who had already graduated from Middlesex before me, I went into my 4 years of high school with the expectation that I would love my experience, and I did. Since I was basically hard-wired into thinking every part of boarding school was a good thing, I made the best of every situation and met some incredible people. Similar to here at Wake, my boarding school offered lots of support and friends I will know for the rest of my life.

HC: How was growing up and going to high school in the Northeast different from being in the South for college?

KP: Honestly it doesn't feel that different now. However, when I first came to Wake, the community felt pretty homogeneous with similar types of people; whereas, at boarding school, I felt the Northeast really embraced being cool as being weird and unique. After my first semester at Wake, though, I met my people. I think weather plays into this too. At boarding school, the long, dark days of winter caused seasonal depression, while in the South, people seem typically happier, especially at Wake.

HC: In your opinion, how different was boarding school from college? What were some similarities?

KP: Living away from home for four years already, the transition to college wasn’t drastic as I already had to account for and look after myself, balancing schoolwork, social pressures, and sports. College just added even more independence. I remember the first night I drove off campus to grab dinner with my friends, I freaked out thinking I had to get the proper permissions and sign out of my dorm. Looking back at it, it’s pretty crazy how strict boarding school was in comparison to being an adult in college now.

HC: How was your classroom experience different?

KP: During my freshman year, my small class sizes were very similar to my classes at boarding school. However, boarding school in a way forced students to get to know their teachers on such a tight, close-knit campus; whereas, at Wake the professors are even more accessible and get to know you in a more genuine way without the pressures of strict rules in a more relaxed environment.

HC: How were relationships different in boarding school versus in college?

KP: At Middlesex, there were only around 400 students in the entire school with a very small pool of kids to choose from and become friends with. I love how in college I am still getting to know new people in my classes and extracurriculars and getting to know other students from so many different backgrounds and interests. I find that at Wake, I really found the place and relationships where I can be 100% myself.