The thought of boarding schools and their nightmares have haunted us since our inception. The ‘intellect train’ running wild in our brains was fueled by the adolescent movies featuring these institutions with a heinous warden chilling our hearts to our mouths. The stage was set subconsciously, instilling in us the fear that the very first day in the hostel would alienate us from the world. Our apprehension regarding hostel life was that it would be an inferno with a tormenting atmosphere. But not everything is as dark as it may seem.
Here are 8 ways in which hostel life positively influences our lives, making it almost a necessity for an individual desiring an all-around development.
SENSE OF TOGETHERNESS
The sense of security and comfort at home eludes us as soon as we enter the hostel premises. A daily regime to obey, confined spaces, seemingly poisoned food, and a whole ball of wax do their best in persuading us to escape from this dishevelled reality. But solace perhaps lies in finding someone going through a similar crisis so that we don’t find ourselves alone during what seems to be the darkest and hardest time we are facing. It’s here that hostels coax the notion of friendship and communism in us. We learn to befriend people of diverse backgrounds forming a single community – ‘hostel mates’.
A NEW FAMILY: SHARING IS CARING
Hostel life demands us to morph our habits. Our humane nature gets in the way when we are hesitant to share things in times of need. Slowly but steadily, a feeling of brotherhood rises which grows and, at times, goes beyond friendship. Intuitively, we attach ourselves to people, places and things that leave an indelible mark on our minds; the safest haven there is for memories. Missing home soon becomes an abstract concept, for we find another home and family amidst the people we come across on this journey.
Hostels play a decisive liberator in our cognitive chrysalis. Problems and complications are detained inside the heart. Confiding in roommates and their counselling supports the lifeline. We fathom others’ distress and experience worldly complications, thus learning to handle real-life problems efficiently. Accentuating and sharing our emotions guide us in shaping us and helping us learn the intricacies of life.
There are relentless nights of assignments, surprise quizzes, sadistic teachers giving a flavour of the ‘real world’, dominating seniors toughening you up the hard way; hostel life is a bittersweet cake mix that stays with us forever. The 3 am gossips, late-night hangouts, and rooms turned into stadiums, clubs, DJ nights are the stress busters. The freedom is limitless, but then we are reminded of the pending chores and deadlines. Thus, we learn to practice discipline in our lives without an external force always reminding us of our responsibilities.
With all the freedom at our disposal, money management is one of the most important things hostel life teaches us. “Jugaad” is word of mouth. Beg-borrow-steal, (well, not really steal) becomes a habit along with false promises of future payment. Debts are cleared off by distributing delicacies sent by parents among the lenders. At the end of the month, hostel rooms become amateur courtrooms, and all this is cleared by sentimental talks where we actually admit how poor we are with the limited pocket money we get.
The process of saving and spending judiciously is hard to administer. Still, we learn gradually with rebukes from parents and friends and find ourselves on stronger grounds than before when handling money is concerned.
FINDING OUR OWN SELF
Strangers often intimidate us. Hostel life makes us open to all that the world has to offer, given that we had never interacted with so many new people all at once. It opens a new world of information, making us realise how bleak our existence had been till then. These new people fuel our hidden talents, encouraging us to go beyond our comfort zone. We become a new person altogether, trying to hone all the skills that we had ignored before.
Mess food is a ‘mess’. We are on the edge of swallowing, macerating and digesting everything reasonable. The 3 am Maggi is bliss. Immunisation comes in handy, not only to materialistic things but to other odds and ends as well. We become autodidacts in the profound subjects of crisis undertaking, contending every tussle and many more. We build up a moral and self-esteem to administer ourselves in the ‘big bad world’ without the aid of our family; the gains only hostel life can give at such an early stage of life. It is hence appropriate to say, “Ab bachcha bada ho gya.”
A STEP CLOSER TO FAMILY
It is said that long-distance relationships become weak. Well, it’s a paradox. Contradicting this concept, the distance between our new and old address literally mitigates the distances we felt from our family members when we resided under a single roof. We engage in and savour the family events and get-together instead of running away from them. Phone calls from home lighten up our faces. We feel and realize the significance of our family more than ever.
The hostel is our home away from home. Hardships, homesickness, “catastrophes” are a part of this journey. But eventually, as the phoenix rises from its ashes, we arise as diamonds from the coal mines and the memories are cherished throughout our lives.