Hostel life is a modern concept in the academic field. In ancient India, students were sent to the preceptor’s house (Gurugriha) at the outskirts for stay and study with an austere life. That system is now defunct. Instead of that, a lot of students stay at hostels in the course of their study in schools or colleges.
Many students come to schools and colleges from distant places. They cannot go back home daily. Hence they have to stay in hostels. Again, some guardians cannot control their naughty wards at home. They believe that staying at hostels will have a corrective measure on their wards, and they will turn out to be disciplined ones. So they send them to hostels.
A hostel is an accommodation of stay and study of a large number of students together. Usually, there are two-seated or four-seated rooms in a hostel. The students have to lead a regulated life here. Having morning ablutions finished, they have their breakfast. After this, they devote some time to studies. After the bath, they take their meals together in a big dining hall. Then they go to classes. In the afternoon they come back to the hostel and take light refreshment. There are arrangements for indoor games. Many inmates take part in these. In the common room, they can have newspapers and journals for free reading. Some go out for a stroll and some to buy their necessities. But all inmates have to return as per routine of the day. Students are served dinner at a fixed time. They can attend to their lessons before and after dinner. There is a superintendent in every hostel to look after the student’s welfare and also to ensure discipline. Students may bring to his notice their grievances for redressal.
Hostel life has some advantages. Here a lot of students, almost of the same age level, stay together. As a result, some students develop great intimacy among themselves. Sometimes the intimacy lasts for life. There grows a spirit of cooperation and fellow-feeling among them. They help one another in case of need. There is an extra advantage in hostel life. At home, they have some domestic duties to do. This interferes with their studies. But here in hostel, students continue their studies without interruption. Sometimes two or three students discuss their lessons.
They can help one another in the matter of studies. This is particularly helpful at the time of examination. Moreover, some non-studious students are induced to read when they see that others are reading. Students can discuss among themselves the current topics of the day too. Sometimes social functions are also held in the hostel. These develop in them a sense of responsibility, culture and refinement.
Hostel life has its drawbacks too. The students staying at hostels are deprived of the close affectionate touch of their parents and near and dear ones. Being away from home, sometimes they feel a nagging sense of homesickness or loneliness. The guardians spend much money for the good education of their wards hoping that they would study here regularly and do well in the examination. But it is not always fulfilled. Some students spend money lavishly. They even borrow money from their friends. Some students do not attend to their lessons. Sometimes they cause disturbance to earnest students. Thus they do harm to themselves as well as to others. A few of them are tempted to or victimised by ragging. Their parents are not there to check them. This may lead them to evil ways. Another drawback is that much money is charged for food, but in some hostels, bad meals are served. The students do not have good food prepared with good care as in their home.
Thus the hostel life is mixed with advantages and disadvantages. The hostelers should bear in mind how their guardians are spending their hard-earned money for them with a hope of their bright future. It is their duty to take advantage of the hostel life and do well in the exams. It is a stepping stone in the long process of building their life in a positive way.