Every phase in life is a learning experience in itself and without any doubt hostel life is one of those. As you get an opportunity to face life, people and situations all on your own, you are prepared for your life ahead in a more mature and better way. In the beginning, the place feels so strange to you that you wish to run away the moment you step in. You spend countless nights wide awake, staring at the ceiling, wondering when you’ll get out of the place that is so alien to you. Gone are the comforts you enjoyed at home. But slowly you learn to adjust to it. Steadily, you start getting accustomed to it and soon enough you fall in love with it. That’s my story, I went on from hating it to loving it; and this certainly is a story common to almost everyone who has an experience of living in a hostel.
Hostel life is synonymous with late night chats, long gossip sessions with lots of laughs, late night birthday celebrations, last minute assignments and projects and much more. All residential students would agree that hostel is a home away from home. It is a place where you inspire and get inspired, meet friends, who add bright colours to the white canvas of your lives, who support you through thick and thin, becoming family in the process. Events like freshers and farewell parties, melas and picnics that are integral and unique to hostel life have given me memories that I will cherish for a life time.
Hostel life gives you wings. You become your own master. Hostel life brings out the manager in you in spite of strict rules and regulations. It teaches you endless things, ranging from rising up early in the morning for breakfast, learning to understand other people’s perspectives and adjusting with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures with different lifestyles. Yet, sometimes these adjustments become overwhelming especially compromising on things like eating food not according to your taste, sharing your own space with others, obeying rules which you sometimes feel are difficult to follow.
Personally, for me food is one thing that I find myself struggling with on a regular basis. There is a mountain of difference between the food that I used to eat at home and the kind that I eat here. Be it the style of preparation or the variety of food. But the joy of being amidst friends makes difficult things easier.
In a hostel you can also tend to hold on to wrong things. There are chances of being negatively influenced by people and at such times one needs to be strong and that strength comes from friends who are always there supporting and encouraging you.
Everyone has their own experiences to share about their life in a hostel. Here are some of the people speaking out about it:
• “My first year was spent coping with a difficult roommate, but then all hostellers have to suffer tiffs with their new roommates. The trick is to give a little as well as hold a bit of your own. A change in set routines has to be made from all sides, and however oceanic the differences.” – Aamina (Faculty of Law)
• “Aloo Tikki and chai at the hostel canteen is what comes to my mind when I recall my hostel days.” – Sana (Faculty of Dentistry)
• “For me the occasional ice-cream treats by the mess staff always makes my day! And though you might not find yourself being pampered with the luxuries of continental and Italian, the hostel mess definitely goes the distance in its Indian culinary efforts.” – Iram (Faculty of Engineering)
• “Living in the hostel I learnt to be independent and make my own decisions. You tend to become strong and learn to rely on yourself for your work which in turn develops confidence in your own self because you realise your worth and what you are capable of.” – Sama (Department of Social Work)
• “An important thing that I learnt living in the hostel is how to manage my expenses and how to live in a limited budget. It teaches you discipline and being punctual; for example if I am not in the mess by 9.30 I don’t get dinner.” – Farah (Department of English)
The experiences might be varied, but one can safely conclude that the bag of memories that one collects while living in a hostel is something that’ll last a lifetime, to be cherished and to feel blessed about, always.
[Note: This article was first published in Episteme (2013-14), the Subject Association, Department of Political Science annual student magazine. It has been republished here with their permission.]