A mixture of pain and pleasure

Hostel life

When parents feel it is not possible for them to make their children follow a fixed routine anymore, hostel comes as a handy option.

Many parents think that hostel life can inculcate discipline and social skills in their kids, which they find tough to instill otherwise. And eventually, parents force their kids to go to a hostel in the hope that it will teach them the qualities and attitude necessary for a good life. Most kids in hostels soon adapt themselves to the new environment and learn to prioritise their routine as expected.

Pradhan Patel, a businessman, has sent his 14-year-old son to a boarding school so he can overcome his shyness and learn to socialise. “Coming from a business family, it is important for us to have good communication skills. But my son used to confine himself to his room.

He hardly mingled with anyone and had few friends. I feel that children often learn more from each other than from their parents. Once my son joined the hostel, he soon began to learn from his roommates. Since he was left on his own and could not rely on anyone for work, he started looking after himself. Fortunately, things have happened exactly the way I wanted them to and he now comfortably communicates with everyone. But I never made him feel like we neglect him or don’t love him,” says Pradhan.  

Mridula Shastri had to send her daughter, studying in a hostel to keep her away from distractions like television and internet. “It was very hard to make her sit and study. She was very fond of computer and television and that used to hamper her studies. So I decided to send her to the hostel where her best friends were staying. She could not reject the offer as she liked the idea of being with her friends. Luckily, everything worked out smoothly and she scored good marks in exams,” she says.

Saraswati H, who was a warden at a ladies’ hostel for many years, says that she has seen young girls transform into responsible adults during their hostel life. “Hostel environment teaches them the qualities of co-operation and makes them independent and self-sufficient.

They help each other in the hour of need and become enduring friends. In hostel, students have to live according to certain rules. They have to wake up, sleep, eat and study on time. This helps them maintain discipline in their lifestyle. Hostel life is a mixture of pain and pleasure.

“I have seen some residents longing for their family members. Some students even misuse the freedom they get during their hostel life and get spoilt due to bad company. But I recommend that a student should spend at least a few years in hostel,” Saraswati feels.

Though hostel life plays an important role in making kids self-reliant, psychiatrists say that parents should take many factors into account and do a background check before sending their wards to hostels, which are far away.

“You should not make your child feel that being sent to the hostel is a punishment. Secondly, once you have made the decision, let your children know about it well in advance and give them ample time to digest the thought. Give them an idea about life in a hostel and how they should behave with the other hostel mates. But don’t frighten them,” says M Giridhar, a psychologist.

He also advises that parents should make sure that the hostel is free of ragging, has a full-time warden and is equipped to deal with medical emergencies.

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