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A (Psychological) Guide To Hostel Life


Unaiza Khalid Chaudhry
4th Year MBBS
I have had the chance to live in a hostel for a little less than two years - 1.5 years in Mozang Hostel for KEMU girls during my first year and second year, and 3 months before that in a private hostel in Lahore during my preparation for entry test .
Other people who have a much longer experience of living in a hostel will definitely be in a better position to share helpful tips regarding hostel life. However I am sharing few things that helped me live fairly comfortably in hostel!

NEW PLACE, NEW PEOPLE

A hostel is a new place different from our homes. We meet new people who might have very different views than ours. It can be a little stressful in the start which is natural but if you have a positive mindset it can make things easier and make it a great learning experience. The best part about public universities is that since students get admission on merit, you have very diverse people coming together at one place. People from different cities with different backgrounds. Someone may be so used to eating such good food that they cannot tolerate hostel food whatsoever, another may belong to such a humble background that they are unable to pay their university fees with ease. So there is this amalgam which creates opportunities for learning about people and their lifestyles.

ROOMMATES
You get to spend the most of your time with your roommates and that is a special kind of relationship. But let's be realistic it can be hard to adjust in the beginning.
Let's say a girl who is really "ladli" gets to have a roommate who is really "bossy" or a girl who is really “outgoing” and a total “extrovert" has a roomie who is a total “introvert” and the list goes on and on!

Now there are two ways to look at the situation. One way is to keep whining endlessly making oneself and the people around miserable. Calling home and telling your mom how weird your roommate is and now you are stuck and you can’t study and so on and so forth ...
But there is another way to look at it. You meet the people you meet for a reason and each person will have something to teach you if you are willing. 

Let me give you my personal example. I am not much outgoing, rather “the sit at home and read a book" type person. Both of my roommates were total extroverts and outgoing. But I can’t really emphasize enough the fact that they taught me a lot about life. They taught me the importance of socialising. They taught me that its okay to relax and enjoy and go out and watch a movie. Its a two way process. You learn from others and others learn from you. Over time you will find like minded people and you can switch rooms later, it's not a big thing. But having people who have interests different from yours only broadens your horizon and helps you grow as a person. 

KNOW YOURSELF AND EMBRACE DIFFERENCES
Know your personality. Some people like going out a lot. Some people don’t. Some people like to discuss and study. Others like to sit in a corner and study on their own. Someone will study on the day before test, someone will start studying a week before. Someone likes pizza and someone else would like to order a burger. We are not the same .Its as simple as that. And that's the beauty of life. It's the differences that make the world beautiful. You just have to accept the other person as they are, and things start getting better. On the other hand you also need to know what you feel comfortable in and let the people around you know that. You don’t have to say yes to people all the time. You can say no and still respect each other and be friends.

COMPROMISE

Although I myself find it really hard to compromise and one shouldn’t really preach what one doesn’t practice but the point is that it's not a perfect world and your views are not always right. So you have to compromise every now and then and its perfectly normal. 
Sometimes you compromise, sometimes the other person does. It's a part of life. Had the world been perfect on its own, there wouldn’t be this concept of Paradise. Every relationship we come across is a kind of test and lasting relationships require small compromises now and then. However one sets some principles for oneself in life and its not really a good idea to compromise on those.


LET GO
I don’t know if I should be sharing this; my roommate is probably gonna kill me after reading this but anyways I am no longer her roommate so technically she can’t ....
So my roommate had this habit of wearing my slippers when going out of the room and I was very particular about my stuff. I would come off my charpai to go the bathroom and lo and behold .... the chappal is gone !!!

Sometimes she would leave my chappal in someone else’s room and bring in another one ..... and I would say "yar meri chappal?”. It would get on my nerves sometimes. 

But then something happened. I went home and observed something interesting about my brother. Mom would tell him to wear chappal but he wouldn't. He would walk bare foot. At other times he would wear mom’s chappal, at other times mine, later he would be wearing mom’s chappal again. So I understood that he wasn’t doing it on purpose, he just doesn’t care. Same goes for my roommate and there is nothing much to be irritated about. So after that when she would wear my chappal, I would wear her's. As simple as that. It stopped bothering me. You would face a lot of such things in hostel. Be assertive, take care of your things but its okay to let go once in a while.
Just like I mentioned earlier someone may have many sisters and is habitual of sharing things like clothes even. Someone else is the only child and very particular about his/her stuff and it could be difficult for them. It's okay to let go of some things. Everything doesn't have to be perfect.
(By the way that chappal wali roomie is one of the few people who have a really pure heart and was a real anti-depressant during my time at hostel, can’t thank her enough.)

RESPECT BOUNDARIES

Let go wali baat apni jagah, but you always have to respect some boundaries whatsoever. Like checking someone else's phone and reading their messages is not cool. Staying together all the time and not separating for even a nano second is not really required. Give space to others. Respect the fact that they might like to watch a movie while you want to cook. Do your thing and let the other person do their thing.
Trust me it makes things much easier and your friendship lasts longer.

SINCERITY
It's more important to say what you feel like, say no at times yet secretly pray for your friend; rather than hang out all the time yet not being sincere to each other.
Keep your heart clean.

THE TYPICAL SENTENCES (energy drainers)

I personally was never much affected by these sentences, but I have been keenly observing for the past few years that too often we use sentences that are useless and unnecessary in the first place and they can really hurt the other person. For one person such sentences might be totally normal, on the other hand such sentences might have a really bad effect on the mental health of someone who is already very sensitive .
For example, 

  • “ yar tm ne itna tayyar kar li hai, poori theeti ho tm “
  • “ abhi to test de k ai ho abhi se parhna shuru kar dia hai tm ney”
  • “ bas tm ne to top kar lena hai is baar “
  • “ bari parhaian ho rhi hain chup chup key “
  • “ tm ne to sara tayyar kar hi li ho gi, tmhi test kra dena mujhey “
  • “Theeti,theeti,theeti”
  • “ sara aj hi parh lena hai”

Most of us have accepted these and many other such to be a part of university life. But I have seen people get hurt badly because of these demotivating sentences. Come on, we study at one of the best institutes and are the so called ‘cream of the cream’, we should be reading the best books and be proud of it; we should be discussing new ideas and researches, and here we are demotivating others and judging k kis ki kitni tayyari hai. Humour is a good thing, demotivating others is a bad thing.
Thora serious ho gya but had to write about it.

STUDY
Too often I have seen students in university and hostel enjoying, watching movies, going out, yet feeling bad about themselves. When I explore a bit more they end up saying “yar main parh nhi rhi aj kal!".
The thing is that if you are a Kemcolian and you think you will enjoy wasting your time for no reason, you are wrong. You are a different specie and you know that. You just wouldn’t admit. You are the type of specie that would whine endlessly k "yaar wards me parhai nhi hoti" so don’t fool yourself. You are a theeta, always have been. There can be a debate about the type of theeta you are, but you surely are one. So enjoy but also study. Books are an important requirement for the sound mental health of a Kemcolian !
Be a proud nerd.

JOIN A SOCIETY AND ATTEND EVENTS

Speaks for itself. Gives you a break. Plus if you are an extrovert and like meeting people, societies can be really cool places for you to learn new things.
However if you are not that type,you can still try and give it a shot and get out of your comfort zone.


POSITIVITY KA INJECTION 

There will be many times when others will make you mad. Sometimes the burden of studies will feel too much. Sometimes the existential crisis will intensify. What Idid in such situations was that I kept a really positive book with me and read a page or two from it when i just couldn’t handle it. The book I kept near my charpai was called “Don’t be sad".
The benefit of this was that it didn’t let my emotions turn into a vicious cycle of negativity. It broke that cycle. You can keep a translation of Quran on your bedside. It can do wonders.

In the end I would just say that this is a totally subjective experience, others might have different views which is completely fine. 
Has my time at hostel been perfect? No. 
Have I never been into a fight? I have my share of them like everyone else.
I have made many mistakes and surely must have hurt many people with my words and actions. But we are humans and make mistakes and this is how we learn. Lets forgive ourselves and others, study hard and party harder, be good human beings and good professionals.

Happy hostel life!



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