It is strange now to think that the very term ‘hostel’ which would once send a chill down my spine in the early years of my childhood, came to hold significance as a place which gave wings to my identity, make me independent, liberated and opinionated in matters of the world, emerge as I did from the safety net of my parents’ home.
Coming to the advantages and disadvantages of hostel life, it depends a lot on the perception with which it is approached. It is not unusual to come across instances of parental rebuke being directed towards banishing their child to a hostel as a form of punitive exercise, which somehow aggravates the fear of hostel in an impressionable mind as a dark, murky place, infested by bullies and away from the loving embrace of the only two people he has come to love and trust in his life.
Moreover, the age at which the child is being packed off also makes a difference. Too young children, who still need the to be kept wrapped up in the cocoon of love and warmth of parental embrace do not take kindly to the cold corridors of a hostel dormitory but the right approach and the right age, which would depend on the Emotional Quotient and maturity of each child, makes a world of difference.
The disadvantages of hostel life are evident, especially for young children who still needed to be guided by the personal touch of the parents not the impersonal rules and regulation imposed on them in the hostel. Moreover, instance of ragging, bullying and excesseshas a negative effect on the mind and psychology of fresher’s.
Children, who are packed off to hostels at too early an age do not get time and the psyche to develop feeling of intimacy with their parents and siblings. Family bonding which is crucial for the healthy mind-set of any individual is mostly lacking in many such cases.
Emotional suffocation, reticence are the natural fall outs of such circumstance where the youngster does not feel the same warmth, trust and love to share his inner feelings and emotions openly in a room full of strangers, once he finds himself detached from his kith and kin.
Lack of one to one guidance and attention, makes few such children fall prey to drug and substance abuse, smoking or drinking, all of which are acts of social rebellion, against the very society, who they feel have treated them as outcasts.
However the right age and right kind of mental preparedness can have an extremely positive impact on the growing mind of a youngster regarding Hostel life. It can give him the horizon to broaden his mind-set and be prepared to take up any challenge that comes inhis way.
Students learn to bond, trust and lean on each other which are key survival traits when one is in the outside world.
They become self-reliant and are equipped to deal with most emergencies on their own with due co-operation from friends.
They learn the importance of adhering to deadlines, since hostel life is much more disciplined than the liberal atmosphere at home which may otherwise treat them indulgingly.
The youngsters learn that they are not entitled to any favours or luxuries but will have to earn their entitlements through good behaviour and disciplined approach.
The strict time–schedules teach them the importance of finishing their work, on time and leaves them with adequate time to indulge in sports and other extra-curricular activities, apart from academics, which is crucial for their all-round development.