Lessons From Day Students at a Boarding School

Posted by Scott Allenby


Roughly 20% of Proctor's students live locally and make the commute to Proctor's campus each day. While these day students  take part in evening study hall and extra help sessions, participate in all campus activities, and have access to all Proctor has to offer, incoming day students often feel apprehension about how they will balance being a day student at a boarding school. This year's Day Student Leaders Lilly Menard '22, Sasha Mackenzie '22, and Jake Allison '22 share their perspectives and advice below on how to navigate the challenges and take full advantage of the opportunities of being a day student at Proctor.

Proctor Academy Day Student Culture

What are the benefits to being a Day Student at a boarding school? 

Sasha ‘22:  “I can definitely say that one of the biggest benefits of being a day student is that I have the best of both worlds. I have all these opportunities that I wouldn’t normally get; however, I’m also able to spend time with my family without getting homesick. I’m able to balance all my relationships equally, and I love that. I spend time with my friends from Proctor, but I’m also allowed to hang out with my friends from home. It really is truly the “best of both worlds.”

Lilly ‘22: “One of the benefits that make being a Day Student so great is the ability to receive direct support from two communities. You have the Proctor faculty and environment supporting you in your daily academic and athletic endeavors, while at the end of the day you're able to go home and unwind with your family. Personally, I love the ability to go home after a long day, eat a home-cooked meal, and feel relaxed in my own environment.” 

Jake ‘22: “When it comes to the benefits and downsides of being a day student, I think there is some variation from person to person. I love Proctor and being an active part of the community, but I also need time for myself, time I would rarely have if I were to be at Proctor 24/7. For some, even this slight disconnect, a disconnect that I often cherish as more of an introvert, could be a huge downside. After all, I am apart from the dorm interactions that help many students prepare for life at college. Many people form strong friendships in the dorm and one of the biggest challenges as a day student is forming those same relationships without the dorm interactions.” 

Proctor Academy Day Student Culture

What are some of the challenges of being a Day Student at a boarding school? 

Sasha ‘22: “One challenge of being a day student is getting to and from school. I learned that communicating with my parents was essential. Sports, Saturday classes, extra help, and special events seem to pop up every week. It is important to look ahead and make a weekly plan.” 

Lilly ‘22: “I'd have to say that one of the hardest things about being a day student is the disconnect that can sometimes occur. While Day Students have a community within themselves, sometimes it can be challenging to not have the close-knit community that boarders feel within their dorms. Especially at the beginning of the year, it can be hard to feel included when dorms go to meals and activities together.” 

Proctor Academy Day Student Culture

What advice would you share with new Day Students regarding how to best take full advantage of all that Proctor offers? 

Sasha ‘22: “My biggest piece of advice that I’m sure everyone has heard is to try new things. Take every opportunity you possibly can. Try every class and lots of different sports. As a freshman, I tried a sport that I had never done before, and it ended up being one of my favorite sports. Proctor is all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and if you accept that then you’ll have some really awesome years. 

Lilly ‘22: “The best piece of advice I have to offer is to embrace uncomfortable situations and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Sit with people you don't know in the dining hall, introduce yourself to as many people as you can, and try a sport you've never had the opportunity to try before. The more connections you make and the people you meet make all your experiences more memorable and fun. Six years from now, you're going to want to remember your time at Proctor as being some of the best, so don't worry about what other people might make of your choices.” 

Jake ‘22: “The best advice I can give to any new Day Student is to not just stick to themselves just because they don’t have the ‘crutch’ of dorm friendships. There are other places to develop relationships other than the dorm; The Wise, Coffee House, and even the dining hall come to mind. There are opportunities for day students everywhere, sometimes you just need to look for them!

Proctor Academy Day Student Culture

Day Students and their families are invited to a Day Family Welcome Event on the evening of Wednesday, September 1. In the meantime, don't hesitate to reach out to our Day Student Coordinator, John Bouton, via email


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