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Ben’s story


“I grew up in Liverpool where I attended St. Michael's Catholic Primary School, and later the De La Salle Academy. During my GCSEs, [Royal SpringBoard] gave me the life-changing opportunity to attend Marlborough College for sixth form.

My experience at boarding school really helped me improve my confidence. When I first arrived I had worries about how I would be accepted given how different my upbringing was to other students at the college; however, I soon realised that I had nothing to fear. As soon as I began to speak I was bombarded with questions about Liverpool and (after being asked to say things like “chicken and a can of coke”) complimented on my accent; it surprised me how happy people were to meet someone different. I quickly realised that I should embrace, and not be fearful of my background and differences.

I was also worried about how I would cope academically, before I arrived, as I knew I’d be challenged in a way I hadn’t been before. At first, I struggled as I was having to work more independently than I was used to, and I wasn’t used to having to ask for help. However, I was pushed by my peers and teachers to work harder and have more confidence in my own abilities. Eventually, the hard work paid off, and I gained the confidence that I can achieve whatever I want if I continue to push myself and put in the work.

Finally, at boarding school I made great friends who I know I can meet up with, or turn to for help, wherever I am in the world.

I hope that sharing my experience at boarding school has given other students and family members the belief that they can achieve anything through hard work, and encourage them to be proud of their backgrounds.

My favourite thing about boarding school was living in a boarding house, which essentially becomes your second home. As soon as you arrive you’re greeted by a warm, lively atmosphere created by a house full of 60 or so teenagers, and within 5 minutes you’ve already met loads of new faces. There’s never a dull moment, whether you’re just chilling out (some of my funniest memories are just from hanging out in people's rooms), or getting involved in house competitions (for example, football) and you build close friendships very quickly. If you’re ever feeling down, there’s always a friend or tutor nearby to talk to, or something going on to simply distract you. You soon realise that it’s more than a boarding house - it’s a second family that you can’t wait to see again when you’re back home for the holidays.

Thanks to the support of my family and teachers I’m certain that I would have gone to university, however I’m not sure I would have been able to study medicine at such a prestigious university as St. Andrews. As soon as my tutors at Marlborough College were aware that I wanted to study medicine, they gave me full support and direction on what I needed to do in order to be successful in my application; for example, it was arranged for me to help out at a school for disabled children once a week; I was put in contact with doctors and medical students; and I was given exam and interview preparation. I’m not sure I would have been provided with the same opportunities at my previous school. Furthermore, I believe that experiencing both state and public schools helped my application as it showed that I can be successful in unfamiliar environments, and in general made me a more relatable and confident person.

I recently graduated with a First-class Bachelor of Science degree in Medicine from the University of St. Andrews, and will soon begin the next 3 years of my course at the University of Manchester. If all goes well, I’d like to become a clinician, although I’m still unsure what exact path I will take. I hope that one day I’ll be able to help provide someone else with the incredible opportunity that I was fortunate enough to have.

My two years at boarding school were two of the most enjoyable years of my life, where I gained lifelong friends and developed into a stronger version of myself. The support from Royal Springboard was amazing throughout and I still can’t believe how lucky I was to be given the opportunity.

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