Students moving out of the comfort zone of their homes to a different city for higher studies, become confident to live on their own.
It’s that time of the year again when Facebook status messages and photo uploads exhibit the excitement about entering a “new phase of life” as pictures with new friends flood the timeline. As colleges across the country reopen, there are many untold experiences and unshared emotions that are shaping a fresher’s life beyond academics and hangouts.
Learning to wash one’s own clothes, budgeting money, confining all of one’s possessions to just one shelf, innovative cost-saving methods, evading the warden or house-owner’s wrath — college students stepping out of their homes for the first time have a lot to learn.
“It is difficult learning to do your own chores such as washing clothes, but I am enjoying it. Moving out was a decision I made as the college and course I wanted to take up demanded that I move to another city,” says Deepak, a PGDM student, who moved out of his home town Chennai to study at Coimbatore’s PSG Institute of Management.
It’s the same with many youngsters like Deepak, who choose to prioritise college and course over the comfort of home. Sanjana Shankar chose to move to Bangalore from Indore because the course of her choice was available there — B.Sc. in Economics, Mathematics and Statistics at Christ University. “One of the reasons I wanted to move out of home was because I wanted to gain more exposure and become confident which I am sure would happen if I learned to live by myself.” Her biggest fear was the food and the people she would be sharing her room with in the hostel, but it turned out to be a lot better. “Of course, I miss my family and friends, but once you decide to move out you have to be mentally prepared and ready to make compromises. Before I moved to Bangalore I did a lot of research online and spoke to a lot of people. That’s how you prepare yourself for how life is going to be.”
Just two weeks in and Sanjana has already found a good friend in roommate Isha Jain, who hails from Hyderabad. The duo besides sharing a room, share the expenses of purchasing common items such as bucket, night lamp, curtains, food.
“I have brought along a few photos of my family, but besides that nothing really specific to remind me of home as I am anyway connected to them through the phone and Skype,” says Isha.
The place you stay — hostel on or off campus, and PG accommodations — and the friends you share it with for the next three/ four/ five years is what your life will be all about. Friends who share more than just a bench or book turn out to be friends for life as “they become your family during those few years” as Isha puts it.
But finding such an accommodation didn’t prove to be such a daunting task for Anita Rex, pursuing her Masters in Social Work in Chennai. Having moved from Kochi to Chennai, Anita was at first forced to take up the only available option. Not finding it suitable, she called JustDial (a tele-search engine) and zeroed in on a women’s hostel after visiting it. Anita finds it liberating to travel all by herself, do things on her own and stand up for herself — so much for a girl whose parents call her the ‘house-baby’!
Prof. N.R. Mandal, Dean-Student Affairs, IIT- Kharagpur, feels that students stepping out of their comfort zone and away from the family tend to react in two ways: A majority of the students take it in the right spirit and learn to do things on their own which gives them a feeling of being grown-up. Then there’s the other lot who do not channelise their freedom in the right way.
To overcome a feeling of loneliness and make new friends, Prof. Mandal suggests that resident students indulge in an active social life on campus by participating in extra-curricular activities or even merely cheering on your college football team. He adds, “Decide on what you want to do with your freedom because this will yield a result and it is for you to take credit or blame...”
“The most important thing about being away from home is being responsible for your own actions. It inculcated in me a sense of decisiveness and farsighted thinking which I think is essential. It made me independent — in thoughts and actions and being responsible for it,” says Ashwin P. Paranajape, III Year, CSE B.Tech, IIT-Bombay.
He added that there were a few juniors who had issues with being in a different place away from home and I helped them by being there for them when they needed me.
As far as coping with the new life is concerned, I think majority of us enjoy the freedom it gives along with the responsibility. For almost all of us it’s not a sad situation. This is primarily because our parents took care of the basic necessities and they are always available over mobile or internet.