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Would you like to have a better high school experience?
Written by Wonjae Jang | Published. 2020.01.08 18:29 | Count : 196

Each of the four schools in Jeju Global Education City has a student dormitory. At my school, St. Johnsbury Academy Jeju (SJA), students who do not live in the dorm are known as “day students.” There are pros and cons to being both a dorm and a day student. However, as a student who used to live in a dorm, I highly recommend that students live outside of the dorms.

[Interviewing Kevin Cho (Photo source: Wonjae Jang)]

At SJA, dormitory students are woken up every weekday morning by a knock on the door at 7:20am. After a full day of school, students have an after-school activity which ends around 5:00pm. Dinner is served in the cafeteria at 5:30pm. Once dinner is finished, there is an evening study period, after which the school gym is available for student who wish to exercise. Lights out time varies depending on the student’s grade but is generally between 930 and 10:30pm. All students at or below sophomore level also have to turn in their electronic devices in the evening and are not allowed off-campus. If you live in a dorm, your day is completely structured. 

[Exterior of dorm at SJA. Photo by Wonjae Jang]

For those whose home is very far from school, a dorm is a place that can become a second home. I lived in the dorm for one year when I was a sophomore and something, I noticed is that some students found living in a dorm restrictive. One of the reasons that some did not like the dorm was because of the proctor (roughly the same as a dorm supervisor). SJA Jeju does not have particularly stringent dormitory rules, but most of the proctors are still very strict: they do regular room checks and do not let anyone stay up after lights out. Such restrictions made the younger dorm students less than happy with dorm life.

All of that said, there is a benefit to living in a dorm that is worth mentioning. An SJA senior, Kevin Cho, commented, “I like to stay in the dorm because I can have more time with my friends. We work together on homework and can help each other, ask questions, and so on.” The availability of peers and friends would obviously be less accessible if you lived outside the dorm. In a way, dorms help you develop a supportive social group. Despite this, I still believe it is better to live at home. Many students do not have enough self-discipline to live in a dorm, especially as their classes and studies become harder. A dorm is a place where they must be very independent and focused to maintain good grades and habits. In other words, students who can manage their time wisely will find they are more suited to living in a dorm. Unfortunately, I think this quality is rare in most students. On the reasons she decided it would be best for me to return to living at home rather than in the dorm, my mother, Jin Paik, said, “A dorm is a perfect place for a student to create many happy memories and have new experiences. However, in high school, it benefits students to be at home with their parents because parents can ensure students are studying in the most effective and logical way.” I strongly agree with her on this point, as I am not self-disciplined enough to manage my time well. So, carefully consider whether or not you truly have the discipline required to live in a dorm.

While my time in the dorm helped me in becoming a good student and to connect with my peers, I would still recommend anyone entering high school to live with their parents rather than in a dormitory, especially if they are not self-disciplined. Even younger students should carefully consider whether or not they will be really happy with dorm life, as they will face even more restrictions than their seniors. To me, having control over my studies and not being restricted to a specific schedule and set of rules, as well as having the support of my parents at home, make living off-campus much more preferable. I am much more content and productive living at home than I would have been in a dorm.
 











Wonjae Jang
Junior (Grade 11)
St. Johnsbury Academy Jeju

Wonjae Jang  student_reporter@dherald.com

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