I felt that it was a very bad idea. This was day one of my hostel life and I already started hating it. Though it was exciting to thing that there is a wonderful experience coming up, I wasn’t feeling good the first evening of my hostel life. I was already missing luxuries of life. I could see that others were feeling the same and that night I went to bed hoping the daylight will lighten the gloom.
I stayed in hostel for four years of my college life. Those were the most transforming years of my life. I say transforming because this is time when my outlook towards life and how I should be, kind of changed forever. This change was mostly for good, but there might have been some traits that I picked which would’ve made few people angry too. But that being said, you can’t keep everyone happy.
Looking back there are so many memories, so may people who influenced the way I think and possibly carved the person I am now. I would say, everyone should have an opportunity to live in a hostel for at least few years of your life. It teaches you a lot. Of course, the choice is yours as to what direction to take, you can end up being a better person or it might turn out the other way. But it’s an experience worth living. It really does prepare for life ahead because people are not so innocent when they are in college
Before I joined hostel, I was a very different person. So how was I before? I was more possessive of my belongings and was reluctant to share my stuff with even good friends. I was not a very patient person and used to get impatient very easily. But all this changed during the course of my hostel life.
Change was difficult
For me, early days were really difficult. Adjusting to a bunch of strangers and living with them was not easy. Everyday, I was missing the luxury of my home. Since my birth I have never been away from my family and hence was never used to being on my own. But I kept a straight face and decided to accept the challenges of life as they come.
Biggest challenge was to accept the conflict of interest between roommates. Though you are friends, in many cases you end up disagreeing with each other. Each of the us had a very different personality and this reflected in our decisions and opinions. So, coming to a common conclusion was often difficult. Any common decision always involved someone ending up disappointed. If I was that person, I hated it. My ego never accepted it.
Sharing was difficult
Because you were living in such close quarters with your friends, often the boundary between the ownership of things were faded. For me my things were very dear. Be it m aftershave or my t-shirts. I absolutely did not like anyone using my stuff and made every effort to keep them hidden.
This wasn’t the case with some of my roommates, they were okay sharing stuff. I never understood how they felt okay with giving away stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it was not that I was a jerk who never wanted to help people, but I was afraid of this becoming a habit and people starting to rely on me for things. I did not want them to think that I was a source for them.
The case in the point was my mobile phone. Very few of us had mobile phones when I joined college and I was one of them. So there were occasions where hostel mates come up to me asking me if they can use my phone. Though I used to give it to them, those days talk time was bit expensive and I did not want to waste them away. So this is how it was before I completed my four year training in college hostel Yes it was a training and I am glad I took it
After I joined hostel and spent few months, most of my habits and traits went out of the window. I started feeling like I am the one different person from rest of them and not in a good way. While they were enjoying and sharing amongst themselves, I found myself worrying over my private space. I took a long hard thought process to understand that there is no private space within a hostel life in abroader sense. You need to have an open minded attitude towards sharing and adjusting.
Change of attitude
All the while I was trying to be inside my comfort zone which was created around me since I was within the luxury of my home. Since that was taken of, I was left wandering right outside my comfort zone. This is why it was so difficult for me to fit in the crowd. Once I realised this, I decided that things should change. I understood that to be one of the crowd, I need to accept my hostel mates as they are. I had to accept their personality as it is.
Being social and more open helped me get rid of my intense need for a private space. More you socialise and be sharing, more you are in a comfort zone with your friends. This happened over a period of time until I realised that most of them, if not all, were really good people. My judgment about few of them was completely wrong. The line between yours and mine was very faded here. During last two years of our hostel life, Renjith, my best friend and I ate from the same plate everyday. It was normal for us. In fact after returning home, I missed those days where we ate from the same vessel and talked about interesting stuff during our dinner in the balcony.
By the end of four years, I was completely different person with more respect with fellow human beings and a much more open attitude to sharing. So to list out this is what I learned from my hostel times:
Accept your situation, do not fight it: If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, trying to fight against it only makes it worse. Rather accept it as it is and try to find out a way to move on. No point in cribbing about what you lack, look for ways to fix things that are wrong.
Accept people, do not have prejudice: During your lifetime, you meet many people. Never have any prejudice to them by the way they are or the way they look. The is goodness inside every one of them. Try to find them and you’ll see how easy it is to accept them.
What you give is what you get: Universal law! Be good to people and you’ll get good back in return. If you are expecting someone to treat you with respect, be respectful to them. Sometimes it’s okay if people misunderstood you. Be understanding and be good.
Every bad situation is a opportunity: Sometimes, life screws you real bad. Things seem to be on a downward spiral and you lose hope. But always remember, every single bad thing that happens in your life, will be an opportunity to something better or it will be a lesson worth learning.
Action even at the last minute is worth it: If you are expecting something good to happen to you, act! Action even at the last minute helps. This is something I learnt during our preparation for exams. There were many instances where I have procrastinated and studied entire subject just two days before exam. But somehow it all worked out and I did graduate.
Not everyone matter: Find out the few people who really matter to you. Those are the ones who care for you and give you the respect you deserve. Life is too short to make everyone happy, so you make the choice.
Live your life: Enjoy everything you experience. Life is a wonderful journey, make sure you make most of it. I may or may not have followed this, but I sure intend to!
So those are the few things that I learnt from some of the best times I spent my whole life.