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Day 12 – Not Just a Place to Sleep

Jul 21, 2016 10:11:00 PM

The Experimentory is more than a summer school – it is a community. Community is important in the classroom; it is strengthened in our group activities; but its foundation is our down time – how we act and interact when there isn’t work to be done or an organized activity. John Anthony Bowllan writes about how he and his fellow proctors shape dorm life to lay this foundation.


From collaborating in the classroom to our diverse co-curricular activities, our Experimentors have had plenty of academic opportunities to learn new concepts, explore their creativity, and improve their character. However, dorm life, the heart of Deerfield boarding culture, is where most of the “magic” happens.

Crow Common has a pretty sick sound system – excellent for the impromptu dance party.

The dorms are more than just a place to sleep. They are spaces where the Experimentors can become a community, maintain friendships, work on new ones, and develop their characters. This year, our double-dorms – Johnson and Doubleday – house all of our Experimentors, ten staff proctors, two teaching fellows, and a couple faculty residents and their families. Each dorm floor is home to about eight Experimentors and one to two proctors to oversee and facilitate the dorm life experience. This year, the girls’ and boys’ dorms share a common room called the Crow Common. Students gather there to bond as one community. Given our diverse student population here at the Experimentory, each student meets all different kinds of students with diverse backgrounds and life experiences.

Aidan enjoying his summer birthday party in the dorm.
A few nights a week we have dorm feeds – night time snacks – and no feed is as special as a birthday feed. Saturday night Aidan turned the ripe old age of 12!

Moreover, in the dorms, the Experimentors develop the skills required to live independently while taking part in the Deerfield community. Students learn to be considerate of all their peers and to negotiate and compromise – essential qualities when living in a shared space. In the first days of the program, the proctors and students on each hall created and unanimously agreed on rules each and every student should live by and responsibilities that each person was expected to meet. From 10PM lights out to dorm etiquette, devising the rules and expectations together creates a unanimous sentiment of mutual respect on each hall.

I have seen lots of growth in my hall. Tysean, for example, has made it his duty to make sure that the others on our hall are up in time to be ready for breakfast and morning classes! I am truly proud of the progress the Experimentors have made so far. Keep it up!

– John Anthony B

Abram and Chris are among our best ping players.
Here they face off during an evening free time.