In the first of our series of Boarding Student blogs, Nichita (Year 13), shares his experiences of joining Chigwell School and gives words of reassurance for others who might be nervous about embarking on their boarding school journey.

"I vividly remember the day I arrived in Chigwell for the first time. I was looking for my boarding house, as I had no clue where I would spend two of my best years. Fortunately, my House Parent found me and showed me the path to the house where I was met with tea and biscuits. First arrivals are always a nervous event, whether it is meeting the people that will become your family or getting to know the other boarders who will become your friends for a lifetime. I recall choking on my words the first time I spoke to the surrounding group of people, due to the great sentiment of anxiousness, a sentiment which quickly disappeared as I integrated into this wonderful community. The School made it possible for me to settle in all possible fields. During school, I would have a mentor who "showed me the ropes", as they helped me become part of the student body by accompanying me around school and acting as the link to my new colleagues, now friends. Afterwards, when I would come home, my lovely boarding parent would ask me how my day went and would help me eliminate the gap between my past education and A-levels, an effort that helped me attain top grades till the end.

Chigwell School has become a fundamental part of my biography, as their facilities and personnel have helped me become a polished individual, however, here in boarding is where the real growing up happens. I have learnt the hard way that not having an alarm set the night before is a sure way to miss breakfast and my lessons. Independence is the moral of being a border as there is so much freedom that you are required to plan your time, otherwise, you could get lost between going on a walk in the fields with your friends or having to do the homework the night before a school day.

However, if done right, the boarding experience becomes a fascinating journey of development, a 'bildungsroman'.

So many things have happened in this community that it would take me a book to cover them all, whether it is getting stuck in the trees or forming a house of cards out of my dear friends. I think for me and all boarders, being here has been a boon. Every day I wake up with a smile on my face as I know that this day will become a memory, an experience that no other place can provide.

Sadly, I am leaving Chigwell Boarding this year as I got an offer for Biochemistry at UCL. I am profoundly thankful to the boarding staff and fellow boarders as they helped me determine my ambitions, and they will surely help you out as well.

To the next generation of boarding students, and for those who are looking into boarding at Chigwell, I say go for it. All your fears and apprehensions will be erased as quickly as possible by your new parents, the people who will protect and guide you in this two-year rite of passage. Lastly, do not forget that everyone is as nervous as you are!

I would say the greatest tip coming to Chigwell Boarding is realising that this place is a new stage, the last two chapters of the high school era and that everything will be alright, even better than that!"