Is it at all like St Trinian’s?

We spoke to Fifth Year boarder Hannah Nuzum about her time as a Boarder in Alexandra College.

It’s a long way from Carrigaline to Milltown, but having lived at Alexandra College since First Year, I can honestly say it’s a road well worth travelling.

Having no links to Alex, it’s something close to chance that I’m here at all. If my parents hadn’t become aware of the school due to two girls from my primary school attending, I might have missed out on this incredible environment.

As the only girl in a family of five kids, I think my parents saw the opportunity for me and I was glad they did.

I was really excited, with one older brother and three younger I was happy to get away and have my own space.

Going to a new school can be a challenge for anyone, but generally going from sixth class to First Year, you know a lot of people. But coming across the country to a school where I knew nobody? That was daunting. Luckily, the school couldn’t have done more to put us at ease.

The boarders came up on a Sunday and school started on Monday. On the day we arrived all of the students and parents did icebreakers before we were put into our dorms.

Everyone was going through the same thing and we were so excited to be there that we helped one another through it all.

The biggest advantage was that there were fewer ready-made groups, so we were all one big friend group. InFirst Year we all stuck together, but as we started making friends and creating our own friend groups, we became smaller tighter units.

We moved campus last year, and now the experience is a bit more like being a day student – before then, we’d throw on some clothes, roll out of bed and walk over to school. Now we have to get a bus to campus, which makes getting out of bed more of a challenge!

In First Year, you’re in dorm rooms of four students and for other years it’s rooms of two, then you’re on your own in Fifth and Sixth Year. I had been in a dorm with the same girl since First Year – but now I’m adjusting to my own room, which is nice. Fifth Year can be stressful so knowing you have your own space is helpful. The rooms have everything that you could want, with a bed, a sink, a desk and a wardrobe.

After school, Boarders go home on the bus at 4.00pm and dinner is at 5.00pm. In Fifth and Sixth Year you can study in your room or do group prep. I personally do group prep from 6.30pm – 9.30pm with a 15-minute break.

Far from being the stuffy, uncomfortable place many people think of, our dorms are very comfortable. In the rec room, my schoolmates and I have been watching Friends from the start on the Apple TV. There are three couches, a coffee table and Fifth and Sixth Year Boarders get kitchens on their own floor.

Being away from home for school is certainly a different experience, but the culture, the support and the facilities here make it so much easier.