Darlington School - Review #2
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2007-2009|
|Sports and Activities:||Volunteering at an after school care program and the Boys and Girls club, honor society, Spanish honor society, environmental awareness program|
|College Enrolled:||Birmingham Southern College|
|Home Town, State:||Anniston, AL|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
Walking onto the campus and seeing the beautiful architecture and landscape of Darlington is absolutely a highlight of the school. You feel like you've been transported somewhere incredibly quaint and special.One thing that I loved and appreciated about DS is that many of its boarding students hailed from all over the world. Having this multi-cultural environment absolutely shaped my awareness of others' traditions, customs, and traits. The great thing about DS is that there is a very open attitude about people with different religions, cultures, sexual orientation, etc. Despite being located in the South, the school fosters a welcoming and progressive spirit that made life very pleasant on campus.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best thing at Darlington was the abundance of great friendships I made. Although it becomes hard to keep up with people, I still cherish the relationships I had at school. Living with each other provided the opportunity for a closer friendship that I did not have as much with friends in my hometown. The friendships here felt more loyal, trustworthy, and genuine. This taught me to value true and deep relationships with people from all walks of life.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
Honestly, nothing. The school is great at "making" you participate in activities and events that put you on a social path through your time on campus.The advice I would give to students going to boarding school is to make your self get involved with every activity possible. It's easy to sit alone in your room, but I promise you'll enjoy your time so much more if you make a great effort to meet people and take advantage of your school's offerings.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The friendships, physical environment, and the preparedness for college.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Talk to the students and ask them what they love and dislike about the school! It might help you decide between schools if you're looking into more than one.At Darlington, take walks around the pond/lake during free periods and check out the turtles :) Also, eat at Schroeder's!
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I loved that critical thinking and analysis were encouraged through classroom discussions. Rather than focusing on memorizing facts, as my last private school had done, Darlington focuses on the "why" and the "why it matters." This better prepared me for college in my 2 years at DS than my 12 years at my other school.The teachers were incredibly wise and fostering of a comfortable environment in the classrooms. I never had to feel afraid of voicing my thoughts and opinions.While challenging enough, the workload after school was not so burdensome that I ever felt bogged down. IT was enough to reinforce what I learned in class, but not so much that I couldn't enjoy my afternoons and evenings.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
While I did not participate in athletics, I loved that Darlington offered a wide variety of sports options. The athletic facilities are absolutely gorgeous and very high-end. It felt like being on a college campus!
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
One of my favorite classes was graphic design. I absolutely soaked up every minute of each class and was always eager to complete my projects with a high level of perfectionism. My teacher definitely appreciated my passion for it!The choir and band would often perform at our assemblies each week and made for a fun musical concert. Because the school is sizable, the talent and diversity of the musical groups was incredibly impressive. Having previously attended a school with 20-30 people per class, I appreciated that having 150 people per class at Darlington always resulted in very high quality performances and class/activity offerings.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Darlington provided many after school activities, such as volunteering at local elementary schools and programs for low-income children, sports, and arts. Because I am not athletic, I enjoyed having the option to participate in volunteering. This was something my past school had not offered.Also, the school would often host events and activities for the boarding students to provide a fun atmosphere for those of us who were living on campus. Every January they would host tournaments that consisted of athletic challenges, scavenger hunts, puzzle solving, and eating contests. This was always a great distraction from the winter weather.Lastly, DS offered spring break programs like traveling to Costa Rica, which I opted to do during my junior year. It was partially a vacation and partially a learning opportunity to study the birds, environment, and culture of the country.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I loved that the dorms at Darlington were very upscale and that each room had its own sink. This made life very easy in the mornings. The dorm itself was always very clean and incredibly safe. I always felt comfortable living in the dorms. Each room was very large and held two people. My rooms were always larger than those of my college years!The first few months of my 1st year at DS were spent in a dorm that I did not resonate with. I requested to switch to the other ladies' dorm and was able to do so after Christmas break. I loved that I was allowed to move into a space where I felt more "at home."Socially, the dorm mothers would always have different activities going on so that all of us would bond and get to know each other better. It was great living next door to friends, as we could always walk over and chat anytime we wanted!In each dorm, there was a fridge/freezer, toaster, and microwave. Stoves were not allowed for safety reasons, but sometimes the dorm mother or the other duty teachers living in the building would allow us to use their stove/oven for special meals. Because the kitchen was inside the dorm, you always have access to it. You were not forced to stay in your room after nightly check-ins. As long as you were inside the locked and alarmed building, you could get food late from the kitchen, go to the restroom, or even quietly socialize with other dorm mates.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
I loved that all 3 meals were provided for boarding students. Although some days lacked enough vegetarian options for me, the food was almost always delicious and unlimited in the amount you could eat.The cafeteria has many tables that are free for all. The ability to sit anywhere, come and go during lunch periods, and use your phone was awesome. These conditions made for a relaxing lunch to spend with friends. Also, you could enter throughout the day, so sometimes I would sit inside to read in a quiet place.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Immediately surrounding the campus is not so safe or nice, so we would never walk off of campus. Driving to the better parts of the city only took a few minutes. There was a cute "main street" just about 3 minutes away from school that had a lot of cute restaurants and shops. We would go there often, as well as to the movies and other restaurants around town.I'll be honest, it's a relatively small town that does not have the thriving activities of a bigger city; however, the school was great about providing activities and giving us the freedom to hang out off campus after school. Also, because there were many local "day students," we had local homes to hang out at that provided a nice change of scenery and a homey feeling.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
I loved the availability of activities, sporting events, and social nightly happenings on campus. Most of all, I loved making friends from wildly different backgrounds than mine. It was awesome having friends from all over the world and getting to experience different cultures all in one place. I was also friends with many "day students" who would often have me over to their homes. All in all, Darlington provides a very social atmosphere for students.
|3:00 PM||Class/After school activity|
|4:00 PM||Hanging out with friends/homework|
|10:00 PM||Nightly check in|
|10:30 AM||Wake up|
|1:00 PM||Hang out with friends|
|7:00 PM||Dinner and maybe a movie|
|10:00 PM||Check in for the night|
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