Sunday, 5 September 2010

Locus Focus - Ramblings about Schools

Locus Focus is a meme hosted every Saturday by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar. "We all know of books that make their settings come alive, and this meme is a chance to write about them and share them with others." Visit her blog and link up!

This Locus focus is a bit different as I'm not going to talk about which school setting is my favourite, but I'm going to ramble about one thing that I keep noticing about boarding school settings and that surprises me:

The schedules those poor students have to keep!!

Take the schedule that Spirit White has to keep in Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill. It's so packed I'm surprised she even has time to sleep. Lessons, after school activities, study hours, etc... I get tired just reading about it.

And the poor students in Lackey's Valdemar series aren't better off, they have so many things they have to do besides their lessons I applaud them for being able to graduate.

Another example:
Lyle House from the book The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong.

Not only do the 'troubled' teens who are 'rehabilitated' in Lyle House have a list of activities they have to do as long as my book wishlist (and that's a long list I can tell you) they're not even allowed some privacy when they need it.

How do all these kids cope?! I myself have no experience with boarding schools, but I do wonder if these books have a realistic view on boarding schools or if the writers of these books aren't aware they pack the days of these students too full of stuff they have to do. Because really: a full time job is nothing compared to what these teens have to do and they're not even getting paid.

Am I the only one to think this?
Does anyone have experience with boarding schools and can you enlighten me about the schedules that are kept?
Any book recommendations where the students are given some more time for themselves?
Let me know.


Birdie said...

Psst...they all have time turners.
Sorry. Couldn't help it. But really, remember the days when we had 6 or 7 classes in high school? And were "done" by 3.30? And all the after-school activities? (Well, I didn't have those because I'm an anti-social nerd, but still!) Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are usually supplied for you, and if your friends are all there, you don't lose time in travel to meet up.
Sorry if this doesn't make any real sense. I'm just sort of trying to remember my high school days (ever so long ago) and how I managed all my classes, receptionist work, 3 regular babysitting gigs, being a statistician for the football team, hanging with my friends, and still having occasional time to whine because I was "bored." Don't mind me, I'm just a nutter.....

I enjoyed this post btw!

Sullivan McPig said...

How did you survive?

Enbrethiliel said...


Drats! I was going to mention the time turners, too, but Birdie got here first! =P

You have a point, Sully! I never really thought to check the timetables when I read books set in boarding schools, but it makes sense that authors would pack their books with heaps and heaps of activities and not check whether it is realistic. (It kind of makes J.K. Rowling's development of the time turner even more realistic, aye? How ironic!)

Right now, I can come up with three fictional boarding schools in which students are given significant leisure time . . .

Plumfield (Little Men by Louisa May Alcott) -- Perhaps the first co-ed boarding school in literature!

The "Nunnery" (What Katy Did at School by Susan Coolidge) -- That's not its real name (which I can't remember) but what the students in the nearby all-boys college call it because it's an all-girls school.

The Swiss Boarding School (And Both Were Young by Madeleine L'Engle) -- I'm checking my copy now and it doesn't seem to have a name, but the heroine who doesn't like it very much refers to it as the Chateau of Chillon and to herself as its prisoner. (LOL!) Yes, she warms to it later. =)

@Birdie: I am wondering the same thing as Sullivan! How could you have possibly managed--much less managed to be bored?!?!?

Sullivan McPig said...

Thanks for the recommendations!

Birdie said...

Drats! I was going to mention the time turners, too, but Birdie got here first! =P

Ooops, sorry! *giggle*

Sully--I don't know how I survived. I guess I just thought that's what one did! Well, I was thinner then and much younger, so energy wasn't as hard to come by. That, and high school (the classes, I mean) were easy for me, so the work didn't take much mental energy.