Catherine Voronina, one of our boarders who left last year, wrote this lovely piece on what life at the Grove has taught her. She perfectly communicates what a special place our boarding community is. We hope all Grovians leave us feeling that they too have learnt these important life lessons.


5 life lessons I learned in Miller

As a year is coming to an end, we tend to take stock of our experiences and lessons we learned from them. One of the experiences for me to reflect on this year is my life in boarding. Miller opened its doors for me in the most heart-warming manner, helping me to settle in a new school, a new country and a completely new environment; but I realized it was not only about that – for me, as for any other boarder, it served as a school of life. You may not necessarily apply what you learned in chemistry lessons every day, but you’ll use the skills you got from boarding without even realizing it in your day to day life. So what are they?

1. Independence. Even if you don’t move a country, living away from home provides you with the level of self-sustainability you’ll confidently take to university, work and adult life. In a sense, boarding is a smooth transition from “childhood”, where you are in the tender care of your parents, to “adulthood”, where you are in the full control of your actions, because there are still people ensuring your well-being and yet you have more decisions to make yourself.

2. And with these decisions comes responsibility. Responsibility to the community you are living in and responsibility to yourself to be the best possible version of yourself you can be.

In this interconnected environment there will be people relying on you in one or other way, so one learns to be reliable and to responsibly treat one’s little duties. This in turn builds up into a habit, a character if you want, which will then help one to achieve one’s goals and successfully integrate into other environments. This is especially the case in the role of a Boarding Prefect, which implies developing one’s leadership skills by getting even more actively engaged in the management of our little community.

3. Another soft skill you get through such experience is finding common ground with different people. With some of them you will become life-long friends, others you won’t like as much, but at the very least you will learn how to happily co-exist with people who might be very different to you: in their culture, routines and habits. You will know exactly how to behave if you then have a very quiet roommate at uni, or a particularly loud neighbour, and how to take into consideration the feelings and needs of other people while still getting your work done.

4. Boarding has a lot to do with learning about other people, but even more – with learning about yourself. Through the range of after-school activities available to boarders one can discover and develop new skills, and this together with a more close interaction with others brings up one’s best qualities: let it be resilience in the gym, concentration in crafts or the team spirit in the house meetings.

5. One of the most important lessons, however, is that there are always people who care about you. I cannot count all the times when a member of staff would cheer me up after a difficult day, give advice, help with academic or personal matters. And this is crucial to learn that you are not alone, that there are always people to talk to and ask for help if you need it. I guess this is the main thing about Miller – this is the place where you feel loved.

I am everything I want to be.

I am Grovian.