Ex­pand­ing HORI­ZONS

Board­ing house tu­tor So­phie Cochrane says board­ing school gave her the courage and con­fi­dence to travel the world.

Country Style - - PROMOTION - For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit mlc.vic.edu.au

A FOR­MER STU­DENT of Methodist Ladies’ Col­lege (MLC) in Mel­bourne, 27-year-old So­phie Cochrane has re­turned to the school as a board­ing house tu­tor, help­ing with home­work and of­fer­ing emo­tional sup­port. “Your whole life changes,” says So­phie of her own ex­pe­ri­ence of board­ing. “Ev­ery­thing is new, from sport to mu­sic to friend­ships. But it was a re­ally pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence.” Orig­i­nally from De­niliquin, in south­ern NSW, So­phie be­gan board­ing at MLC when she was 14 and start­ing Year 9. In her home town, go­ing off to board­ing school was com­mon and, for So­phie, it just seemed like a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion. “It was al­ways go­ing to be that way,” she says. “The op­por­tu­ni­ties that came with board­ing were amaz­ing.” When So­phie’s par­ents chose MLC, they weren’t just think­ing about sec­ondary school, they were pre­par­ing her for ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion. They thought it would be eas­ier for So­phie to fa­mil­iarise her­self with the city while in the sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment of the board­ing house, rather than move there alone, straight from home, to at­tend univer­sity. It seems they were right — So­phie says her friends from De­niliquin found it more dif­fi­cult to ad­just to city liv­ing. “They found it daunt­ing, but I had al­ready es­tab­lished a net­work in Mel­bourne.” Board­ing helped So­phie de­velop valu­able life skills, such as in­de­pen­dence and time man­age­ment. She also learnt to live with other peo­ple. “When I lived in share houses and trav­elled over­seas, it def­i­nitely came in handy!” she laughs. So­phie is a pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate of the board­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, so much so that, af­ter a stint teach­ing over­seas, she found her­self back in the MLC board­ing house, this time as a tu­tor. In this role, So­phie does ev­ery­thing from greeting stu­dents as they re­turn from day school to as­sist­ing with home­work and help­ing with the bed­time rou­tines. Look­ing af­ter stu­dents’ well­be­ing is an­other im­por­tant part of the job. “We make sure the stu­dents are happy and things are go­ing well. If they’re feel­ing a bit home­sick, we help them through it,” says So­phie. And it’s easy for her to put her­self in the board­ers’ shoes. “Hav­ing been a boarder my­self def­i­nitely helps. They know I un­der­stand what they might be feel­ing and they ap­pre­ci­ate that.” Hav­ing lived in both the coun­try and the city, So­phie be­lieves she’s had the best of both worlds, but for now, she’s de­cided to call Mel­bourne home. “Board­ing gave me the con­fi­dence and the skills to move; I think I would have found the city too in­tim­i­dat­ing oth­er­wise. It has given me op­tions in life and I feel I can now choose to live any­where.”

“Board­ing gave me the con­fi­dence to move. It has given me op­tions... and I can now choose to live any­where.”

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