Throughout the application process, one of the most frequently asked questions is what there is to do on weekends and during free time. Part of the beauty of boarding school is that each day is filled with purposeful commitments, activities, and free time. The free time is actually as much a part of the structure as classes, co-curriculars, and clubs.
The structure ensures that much of a student’s time is spent on classes, co-curriculars, and clubs. Students interested in boarding school generally like to keep busy with a variety of different activities; from sports to music to art to volunteering. They often choose boarding school specifically so that they can do many activities all in one place. Plenty of time for activities, with enough time left over to just be. Ask yourself, “What would you do with the time you could reclaim if all of your activities were in one place?” At Tabor, you might spend time talking with a friend from another country while you both order a snack at the Beebe Grill. You might go down on the docks and take a swim. You might grab a Tabor Bike and head out for a spin. You might relax in your dorm room doing nothing at all.
This year, under COVID-19 guidelines, some of our students’ favorite free-time activities have not been possible or they have been heavily regulated to ensure safety. Our students have not been able to mingle with their peers who do not fit into one of their “groups” like advisory, dorm, primary co-curricular, or classes as freely as they would like. This is due to our efforts to maintain accurate records for possible contact tracing. However, the dean’s office, advisors, and dorm parents got creative, devising ways to enjoy free time together safely.
Here are some examples of things that our Tabor students have enjoyed doing in their free time this year, both during the week and on weekends:
- Open Skate in our indoor ice rink
- Fire Pits with the dorm or mixers with another dorm
- Ordering takeout and eating outside
- Playing “Manhunt” and other summer camp style games at night
- Tie-Dying shirts
- Carving or painting pumpkins, gingerbread houses
- Grilling with their dorm
- Hanging out on the waterfront playing Corn Hole or Volleyball
- Open Waterfront sailing
- Hanging out in the Beebe Grill with a latte or some chicken fingers
- Socially distanced movies in the auditorium
- Recreational sports in the fieldhouse
- Walk into town in Marion to the General Store
- Alternative Tabor Day
Here are some things that Tabor students will look forward to doing in their free time when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted:
- Shuttles to local restaurants
- Cramming into the field house, rink, or turf field stands to watch sports!
- Filling the entire black box theatre or auditorium for a show or concert
- Going to an advisor or dorm parent’s house for a homemade meal and game night
- Heading out into the community to volunteer or hosting Special Olympics Young Athletes Program on campus
- Convening a study group or attending study hall in the library or academic center
- Socializing spontaneously with friends
- Sundae Bar on the weekends
- Dorm trips off campus such as Fast Food runs or diner brunch
- Sleeping over in friends rooms in other dorms
- Walking to Silver Shell Beach in Downtown Marion
- Dorm Meetings and Movie Nights in the Common Room
- Team Dinners and bonding on bus rides to away games
Our students find that even some structured times actually feel like free time. Bus rides to an away venue for sports? Technically scheduled, but it might as well be free time for all of the laughter, conversation, singing, and snacking. A dorm meeting? Technically scheduled, but feels like free time for the warmth, camaraderie, and friendship that is palpable. A study session in an Academic Center classroom on a Thursday night? Could be considered scheduled, but when you are studying with your best friends, sharing ideas and helping each other, it could even be considered fun to prepare for an assessment.
Our students also find that the simplest things are the most fun. A spontaneous stargazing walk around campus? (Tabor is in an amazing location for viewing the night sky!) A walk to Dunkin’ Donuts to bring a snack for the dorm? A study session among friends in an Academic Center classroom? A lingering lunch when you have a free right after, talking about everything and nothing? None of these things sound exciting. But the joy of Tabor friendships, the warmth of our community, and the peaceful sense of place on our campus all turn the simplest things into the happiest memories.
And many thanks to the girls of Bushnell dormitory (Cassie, Shelby and Ana...this means you!) for their help with this post!