Three students from Year 13 reflect on their time at Gordonstoun.
I joined the school back in Year 8 of Aberlour. At the time, I’d only ever been to local day schools and the longest I had stayed away from home was about 3 days. Boarding was certainly a challenging experience for me, but it taught me how to become more independent and to rely on friends for support. Glasgow Sports Tour and the occasional “dorm-raid” certainly made the experience worthwhile.
I entered the Senior School in 2014. Year 9 introduced me to Bruce House, and the band of brothers that held it together. As I learned early on, it wasn’t about how many Inter-House trophies they had, but how enthusiastic they could be about the event. Whether it was House Expeditions, or Inter-House Football, you would always hear Bruce House before you see them. Year 10 came and went, with much of the time spent on the West Coast of Scotland on either STV, or kayaking through picturesque landscapes. Year 11 brought around the “scary” GCSEs, which became rather tame when starting Sixth Form. The Summer of Year 11 (2017) saw me and a few of my friends take Ocean Spirit around Svalbard, an archipelago deep within the Arctic Circle. Those 21 days will stay with me forever, as it’s a true privilege to get to sail around the most Northern civilisation on the planet.
Year 12 involved plenty of time in the drama department with Beauty and the Beast (playing as Maurice) and Animal Farm, a theme which continued through much of Year 13. The Odyssey (playing as Odysseus) certainly earned its name with the many hours spent creating such a unique show. Ending my final year at Gordonstoun as Guardian certainly presented its own set of challenges, not least how to manage my life (something that still needs work!). As I leave to the “great big world” the lessons and experiences Gordonstoun provided will certainly stay with me.
Throughout my time at Gordonstoun I’ve tried to embrace as many opportunities as possible, expeds, STV and service have all massively shaped my experience at school.
A highlight of my time was my exchange to Herlufsholm in Denmark in Year 10. This was my first time abroad without my parents and it taught me how to be independent and make new friends despite a language barrier. I enjoyed my time so much that in Year 12 I returned to the Herlufsholm for the Round Square International Conference.
Another highlight of my time at School was the Arctic voyage which I embarked on in the Summer after Year 11. Initially I was really nervous since this was completely out of my comfort zone, but this turned out to be a life changing experience which completely changed my outlook on the environment that we live in. This inspired me to join together with a group of students to found an Eco Committee at School.
During my five years at Gordonstoun I have really learnt to embrace the Gordonstoun ethos; I have learnt how to adapt in all types of situation and feel like I have gained many skills.
Joining at the start of Year 12, Gordonstoun was my first experience of a boarding school, and despite being completely out of my comfort zone when I arrived, it has transformed me into the person I am now, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to come here.
I don’t think I could pick a favourite moment from the vast array of things I’ve done here from expeditions to being a coastguard, morning hymns to cross country running in typical Scottish weather, and being guardian to quiet evenings in with great friends. However, the independence and responsibility given to you as a senior student has certainly taught me countless lessons which will be of endless help at university and as a young adult. It’s been a rush, but these lessons will stick with me for life, especially skills such as time management, teamwork and leadership.
And here I am now, with only three weeks left of my Gordonstoun career and yet still so much to do. The last two years have undoubtably been the busiest years of my life, but I’ve loved every minute and have made some incredible memories along the way.