6 reasons you should live in a hostel at least once in your life!

Published: April 24, 2014
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Exaggerated as they may seem, every individual comes across these statements at least once during their hostel life. And eventually, it is these very statements that you cherish and remember.

Can’t find clean clothes? Forced to wear two different socks? Your bed hasn’t been made in a month and your room looks like a laundromat? There are orange peels all over your study table with the seeds scattered everywhere in the room. There’s no one to scold you about how untidy your room is and you live a happy-go-lucky life with no worries about the next day, hour or moment.

When all these things happen to you simultaneously, you know you live in a hostel.

I mean, honestly speaking, what else can you expect from a bunch of young adults living together in the same vicinity, virtually under the same roof, without any supervision or parental control? But apart from the carefree lifestyle, living in a hostel helps individuals learn and understand many things, a few of which I have tried to highlight here:

Freedom

A hostel is a youngster’s haven. If I were to use one word to define what living in a hostel feels like, it would be ‘freedom’ – unreserved, utterly blissful freedom.

Undoubtedly, out of the many perks I have come across while living in a hostel, the most awe-striking and often the most coveted one is the liberty that hostels offer to students. For many, it is the first time in their lives that they are completely on their own and responsible for their own actions. The thrill of this freedom acts as adrenaline and helps many in getting a taste of what life really is all about.

Decision-making skills

Whether it is about eating only crisps and biscuits for dinner (because that’s all you can afford) or wearing whatever wrinkled piece of clothing you find lying around the room, you are your own boss. Whether you take a bath after a football game or go to sleep without taking one, whether you study all night or talk about random, meaningless parables with your roomies, it is your decision, unadulterated by any external pressure or advice from your parents.

And believe me making these decisions helps a person grow.

It won’t be an exaggeration if I added that living in a hostel breeds within an individual the traits of a leader – you learn how to make tough decisions and more importantly, you learn to stand by your decision and actions.

Hostel talks

“Oh! Just shut up!”

“You need to find another room.”

“Your feet stink!”

“Why do you snore like Hagrid?”

“Is there a dead dog inside your cupboard? Because your room stinks like one.”

“Are you really not going to share those crisps with your buddies?”

“Can I borrow your underwear?”

And so the list goes on. Exaggerated as they may seem, every individual comes across these statements at least once during their hostel life. And eventually, it is these very statements that you cherish and remember.

The roomie

Imagine this scenario – you have your final exam in the morning, you realise that you have wasted your entire semester not studying a word and now your grade is at stake. You decide to pull an all-nighter; you get your favourite cup of coffee/tea and other snacks to get you through the night, and then sit down with your books and notes, ready to immerse yourself in the ocean of knowledge.

However, what you forgot was the sea-urchin living in your room who is neither in the mood to study himself nor will he let you study. He would rather discuss his love life, how he broke up or is about to break up with his girlfriend and how life is never fair to him. Or he will start listening to his favourite rock band with the volume as loud as it can be or worse, sing along in his cacophonous voice.

Eventually, all you can do is close your books and join him in a duet.

These night-long discussions and 3am music parties become the fuel you need to get through the tough study schedule.

An emotional roller-coaster

Hostel life allows you to discover yourself and the range of emotions you have. It helps you understand how strong or weak you are in emotional situations. It even helps you hone your interpersonal skills time and again when you’re forced to counsel, talk and console a mate during their emotional breakdowns.

Your next door neighbour might turn out to be a sentimental guy who cries every Mother’s Day, listens to cheesy music after every break-up and yes, cries a lot every Valentine’s Day, especially if he is alone (which, given his emotional breakdowns, he usually is!).

So, good luck getting him through these phases if you are not much of a ‘people’s person’.

The ‘borrowers’

You will find the most skilled thieves in a hostel. They’ll ‘borrow’ something they need from you, promising to return it in the next half an hour and then you won’t find them anywhere for at least a week. Of course, even when you do find them, they’ll be suffering from temporary amnesia and will look at you blankly as you ask them for what they ‘borrowed’.

However, some of them are more subtle. If you forget your shampoo in the washroom or leave your plate of biryani on the table to get a glass of water, don’t be surprised if you don’t find your things when you return. I would not be exaggerating when I say that hostel life is a complete package. It acts as a teacher in itself and helps you experience life in its crudest (and often, cruellest) forms!

As for me, I was never the most organised person on this planet. In fact, I was far from it. But staying in a hostel helped develop different habits in me like giving my clothes to the laundromat (and picking them up on time), doing the laundry on my own and knowing where everything was placed in my room.

Needless to say, living in a hostel has groomed me and I would urge every youngster to embark on this amazing journey at least once in their lifetime. Not only will you enjoy the experience, it will help you gain a bigger perspective on life.

And you will have a truck-load of absolutely unbelievable stories to boast!

Shahrukh Wali Khan

Shahrukh Wali Khan

A student of NUST Business School who is originally from Gilgit.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.