It's House Meeting time. At Trinity College School, the boys of Bethune House dish out dogbones to the guys who embarrassed themselves that week, and cans of pop to the ones who stood out in class, on the field, and onstage. The girls at Lakefield College School's Lower Colbrook House belt "Happy Birthday" to housemate Kate, pounce on a pile of homemade cupcakes, then bust a move in an impromptu dance party in their dorm hallway, iPods blasting Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.
Some boarders describe school as "like a permanent sleepover party," where they're constantly surrounded by their best friends – in the classroom, in the dining hall, on the field, in the dorm common room, and on trips into the city. There is no other community as close-knit as the boarding school family.
For Kate Carroll (the birthday girl), having friends around all the time is not only fun, but a great source of comfort. There is always someone to turn to when she's feeling disappointed, homesick, nervous, or stressed.
"You probably won't have 70 sisters at any point during your lifetime, but at boarding you do."
—Jessica, Appleby College
That's not to say there isn't room to be alone at boarding school.
Whether it's at the library reading a novel, in your room listening to music, or simply going for a walk around the expansive campus – all boarders have the opportunity to be on their own whenever they wish. Even with a houseful of roommates, a boarder can have just as much privacy as they would at home.
Of course, a boarder's family of friends isn't limited to just their housemates. The extracurricular clubs and sports teams that boarding schools offer are great places to find others with similar interests, no matter how obscure.
Clubs and sports teams are families themselves. Initiation rituals, weekend trips, triumphs and disappointments all contribute to an unbreakable network of friendships that alumni say "last a lifetime."
Read more about how boarding school sports and athletics mean you're part of team.
Hear more about boarding school life on Confessions of a Boarder.
Or learn how boarding can deepen your love of music, drama and the arts.