As a senior, one sometimes forgets how unique Tabor Academy is as an institution. There is, of course, the obvious – we’ve been blessed by an unusually beautiful location, for example – but, after a while, one often ceases waking up appreciating one’s teachers and how much work and care they invest in their classes, how beautiful the chapel is, or how interesting one’s peers are. Even the beauty of the seaside view fades to become part of the background after a while.
For freshmen, however, everything is still new and fascinating – everything from Tabor’s rivalry with Holderness School, to the fact that we have two lunch blocks. And which one you go to is infinitely confusing for the first couple months, at least.
Every year when the new freshmen arrive, there is a noticeable shift in the school. The seniors become the oldest; the sophomores rejoice that they are no longer lost freshmen, and the freshmen enter, facing Tabor with a mix of anticipation and anxiety.
Emily Dineen, a new freshman at Tabor, is in a slightly different situation than most in that, as the daughter of teacher and coach Gerald Dineen, she has lived on campus for her whole life. With a dad and older brother at Tabor already, she is much more familiar with the campus and way of life than other freshmen. Despite this, however, she still feels that actually attending Tabor is a big adjustment.
“I think it’s a really huge difference for me to be able to really engage with other students,” said Dineen. While before, she was “watching from the outside,” now she’s involved in the community. “I go to the library to study, and a senior might sit across from me. I walk down the halls, and a sophomore might say they like my skirt. I’ll drop something, and a junior will pick it up,” she observes. “I really like just interacting with all the people around me.”
“I’ve watched through the window, nose pressed to the glass for fourteen years,” Dineen added. “I’m just really excited to plunge into life here.” As she pointed out, life as a Tabor student is different than just living on campus. Realizing how big the adjustment is for her, she reaches out to new boarders who may be feeling homesick and reminds them that, “Even when you miss home, miss your family, remember, here can be your home, too. We can be your family.”
Dineen sums up the Tabor transition perfectly – no matter how familiar you are with the area or even the campus, starting a new experience with all new people is incredibly daunting. Regardless, they’re up for the challenge. Already, you can see Tabor freshmen excelling on sports teams, in the classroom, and in the art studios. As they prepare to spend their next four years exploring everything Tabor has to offer, everyone else looks forward to seeing them succeed and watching as they make Tabor their own.
By Madeleine Gregory