Written by Annie Maki, Residence House Parent & Communications Assistant
Anyone familiar with boarding school life will venture that many of the memories shared by our grads involve food…hot pot in the common room kitchen with friends, residence international dinners, butter chicken days in the dining hall, and a favourite houseparent making waffles for evening snack. This May, a group of Class of 2017 residence grads gathered together in the Learning Commons to reflect on their four-year journey at SMS. Some of their memories did conjure up memorable flavours and meals they had shared. However, the “R” word emerged as the most powerful sharing of this evening. Relationship. The girls shared stories of roommates and relationships with friends, family, and their own unique relationship with themselves.
(Oh, and they shared while eating, of course!) Here is a peak inside their time and relationships here.
This year’s Residence Head Girl, Peggy wanted to attend high school abroad to become independent, and SMS was her family’s choice because they were confident that the staff and students here would help Peggy find her voice. And look at her now leading and supporting fellow students! Peggy was ready from the moment she stepped on campus to get involved, and she did as a volunteer, and athlete. It’s a fact that her parents can barely get a hold of her on the phone because she is engaged each day with volunteering, academics, and her school leadership roles. Don’t worry, they make sure to get quality time in on the weekend mornings with a video call. Peggy cherishes her relationship with her family, and she continues to want to make them proud of her. Peggy and her parents admire her growth over the past four years, and marvel at her comfort level when stepping up to opportunities. She knows that her parents will continue to support her learning as she moves into the post-secondary world, and she is grateful to SMS for forming her confidence that will propel her to explore what’s next.
The secret to Jenna and Kinlis’ successful relationship is remembering to take time to share in each others’ lives – from the big stuff like practicing speaking English so they can impress their parents when they go home each summer, to the little things like falling asleep while watching food videos together. They both have learned that a successful roommate and friend relationship is built on trust, support, and trying new experiences together. Jenna admires Kinlis for her expert listening skills, and for her maturity when she seeks understanding in all situations. Kinlis is super proud of Jenna for her dedication in playing all four years on the SY volleyball team, as well as her awareness and deep care that she gives others. The two roommates have grown in their time in residence and credit their learning about nurturing healthy relationships to living with many girls from different cultures under one roof. They both agree this was a special experience and one they will value into the future.
Louisa values the independent nature she has developed in SMS residence, and is happy that she was able to learn how to give care to herself in her time here. Her favourite self-care activity is eating food that she prepares carefully in the common room, and she is grateful that residence provides her healthy cooking ingredients. Louisa has a sweet tooth, and she enjoys sharing her dessert creations with her roommate.
In the house, Louisa learned that being kind is an active choice, and her house parents and fellow students modeled kindness for her. She is appreciative of all girls offering their help – to carry suitcases up and down the stairs over the past 4 years! Beyond the kindness of her fellow boarders, Louisa offers praise and admiration for her roommates. She knows that a well-suited roommate, who may not start off as a friend, can bring interesting perspectives and offer support. Louisa’s advice to incoming residence students is to make sure that you and roommate get enough time to eat take-out food together, and to share in each other’s funny stories.
Yvette and Finale have lived together for three years. They definitely “mom” each other when it comes to getting to activities and class on time or when meeting deadlines. This roommate pair have developed a deep trust in each other from learning how to share space, emotions, and ideas. When they arrived at school, both of these lifers knew they wanted to contribute to SMS, and this motivated them to join council, teams, and clubs. This year, Yvette is part of the school steering committee and school council. Finale participates in school council, and the GSA. The roommates like that they have their own separate endeavors, and come back together in the house where they share their day’s stories while studying or chilling in their room.
Yvette values the perspective that Finale provides her when she is challenged, and Finale is grateful that Yvette continues to help her improve her English speaking. They have developed inside jokes over the three years together, and sometimes are mystified by the weird conversations that they get into as bedtime gets closer. This is a special friendship between two independent girls who value the support that each other offers. They know that the bond created here in residence is lifelong and are looking forward to the exciting journeys ahead for both of them…and that they have more weird conversations together in their futures.