Boarders Move Off-Campus

Students gain independence and self-sufficiency

by Ambyr Baker, Assistant Sports Editor

After a full year of remote learning due to COVID-19, former boarders were eager to return to campus to have the full in-person experience of the 2021-22 school year.

With residence halls not reopening until January, students took matters into their own hands by finding alternative places to stay off-campus.

“The majority of people either decided to stay with a host family or rent a house,” junior Christy Guan said, “Personally, I live in a rented house that I share with three other students from my grade.”

Free from boarding regulations, off-campus gives students autonomy over their extracurricular agendas.

“Without Hockaday staff watching us, there is so much more potential for us to have flexibility,” junior Lucy Cao said. “It’s not as much about having strict rules or guidelines, but rather maintaining an open line of communication with the mom that is watching us.”

The change in residence also brought a change in access to transportation.

“A major setback that we had in boarding was always transportation which, in turn, limited the social opportunity we had,” Guan said. “Now, the expectations with a parent are considerably more lenient.”

The students said the experience of living off campus prepares them for life ahead.

“I learned that I could handle being independent and balance my social life and schoolwork without my parents’ help,” senior Cici Sprouse said. “Gaining this independence has really prepared me for college.”

Though this new living situation grants students flexibility and self-sufficiency, they acknowledge living off-campus has its limits.

“The hardest part about my transition is how much my routine has changed,” Cao said. “I miss having more of a structured schedule and having easy access to services such as the library or gym.”

Moreover, living off-campus burdens students with responsibility that neither Hockaday or regular homelife encompasses.

“Now that I live here without SAGE, Hockaday staff or my parents, I have to make all of my own food, do my own grocery shopping, clean my own laundry, and so much more,” Cao said. “It’s been very difficult to learn how to balance it all.”

She said she also misses the social aspect of boarding.

“I used to be able to go outside and there was always something to do because there were always people around. Here, I’m limited to those that I’m staying with,”

Just the same, Sprouse argues that in the boarding community, she gained a wealth of knowledge about diverse cultures.

“One of my favorite aspects of boarding is the opportunity to interact and learn about so many different people from various places,” Sprouse said.

While thankful for the unique adventure of living off-campus, the boarders agree that the beauty of living at Hockaday is not limited to convenience and structure.

“When I get the choice, I definitely want to go back to boarding for the second semester because Hockaday already has everything I need prepared for me.” Guan said, “I miss having all my best friends live right next door.”