Meet your boarding school family: Prefect
At UK schools, prefects are students who help to uphold school rules, organise social events, look out for the wellbeing of their peers and help new students to settle in.
Nineteen-year-old Cindy Yu, from China, is an A-level student and prefect at Prior’s Field, a girls’ boarding school in Godalming, Surrey, in the south of England. She talks to us about her role helping younger students, life as an international boarding student – and what happens next, as she looks forward to university.
‘My name is Cindy and I come from China. I have been a boarder at Prior’s Field school for more than five years now, and this year is my final year. Over this period Prior’s Field has taught me so much about friendship, hard work and the importance of being who you are.
‘I was elected a Year 7 (ages 11-12) prefect last year, and I was so honoured to become part of the prefect team. My role is to look after my form of 18 11-year-old girls who are completely new to this school.
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'At the beginning I was nervous, but then I soon realised that for them it must be equally nerve-wracking! I play games with them, listen to their worries and watch funny videos.
'I enjoy my role so much; seeing my little first years every morning is always a positive start to the day!
‘As a prefect I also help to organise events like RAG day (a charity event; RAG stands for ‘raising and giving’). Last year, we decorated the whole school around the theme of musicals. We ran different activities like a bouncy castle and a rainforest café, and everyone, teachers included, came to school dressed up as characters from musicals. Our year group, as a team, put a lot of effort into the planning, to make it as good as possible.
‘I have become very aware of my time management as a prefect. As well as all the fun I have, I need to finish my work. I have learnt a lot from working under pressure and meeting deadlines for coursework.
'I would never have made it without the help and support of my boarding family. They understand you when you are tired and overloaded with work; maybe that’s why we have so many hot chocolates and snacks around the house!
‘As an art student, it’s also important to make time for culture. Despite the fact that art takes up a lot of time, it is also a lot of fun.
'We regularly go to London to see different exhibitions, and we have also had several workshops with different artists to learn more skills.
'Last year, all the artists in my year group went to Seville, Spain, for five days to see some incredible landmarks and enjoy some amazing Spanish food.
‘For my A-levels I am studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Art and I have been predicted results of A* A* B and A.
'I have been offered a place at Sheffield University to study Architecture, and I am really looking forward to starting in September.
‘My teachers helped me to research courses that embrace my love of both Maths and Art.
'One of the many benefits of boarding school is that the staff know you so well. They are able to support you academically, and also know how you work best. Teachers have helped me plan my studies and I have had lots of support with my UCAS application.
'Going to university doesn’t seem so daunting because I am already used to living in a community with lots of other people my own age.
‘My time at boarding school has given me the chance to make friends for life. We argue but we love each other as well, just like a family.
'What I enjoy most here – and will definitely miss once I leave – is not the chocolate cookies every Monday, not the swimming pool party every summer or the annual trip to Chessington, but the laughter and memories from everyone in our Prior’s Field family.’