I am a new entrant to a college in Chennai and I am also going to stay in the hostel. What can I expect? How do I prepare myself? What are the dos and don’ts? (Ritu Jain)
Everyone loves college life — it definitely is a new experience of freedom and responsibility. Away from home, you are presented with the chance of making maximum out of it or breaking everything that you have learnt during the school years. As I consider your question to be very important and relevant, let us discuss dos and don’ts in two parts. This week we shall discuss only the dos.
Attend class regularly — it will always be tempting to bunk but you’ll land up with lack of attendance or arrears. Being regular will help you to handle pressure during exam days. Be part of clubs — there are many in the college like literature, social, film, spiritual, NCC, Rovers, etc.
Be part of what interests you. It helps also to make new friends. Always raise your hands to be a volunteer!
Consult senior students — they can help you in many ways, right from buying your books to organising your daily timetable. They can also explain disciplinary measures of the institute.
Keep in contact with your family — I know students who have gone totally astray in the first year of college. However, when you are in the hostel, tell your parents what you are doing everyday. Consult on things that you do not understand. Of course, you ought to tell them the truth. Inform them about the friends that you hang with, parties you go to and sleepovers that you have.
Right place to learn — college life offers lots of opportunities to learn. It will help you for life. We easily make mistakes when we are away and live in a less controlled environment but learn also from your mistakes. Get back on track immediately or else you will make things difficult for yourself.
Be careful — do not do things that can bring bad name to yo, something that might endanger your health, life or self-image. It is more so for girls (I am not meaning to be gender imbalanced instead more sensitive to girls). Scot Freedman talking about college life says that sex also becomes part of this phase. It sums up the danger of free life. Boys, never get into fights and issues. It could spoil your future and reputation. I speak from experience of dealing with a couple of such cases from city colleges.
Balance and prioritise — time management is an important factor in college. We have discussed about it in our columns. There will be too many activities like social events, sports, college trips, homework, projects, tests etc., but one has to deal with it all in a balanced way.
Get to know your college — the size of the college will probably be bigger than your school and so will the volume of people in it. It may have a sprawling campus and many facilities. There may be prayer spaces and those of quietness. This where your life will be for next few years so get to know it well.
Spend within your budget — you are still a student, there is someone is earning for you. The college and hostel fees might be exorbitant for certain families. So keep your personal expenses in control. Try earning your own pocket money. There are umpteen good opportunities to do so. Find places that give discounts for students, right from photocopying shops to eateries.
Be you! — many kids’ personalities change upon entering college. Students hailing from humble beginnings and orthodox families may suddenly change their appearance drastically. Mind your dress code. Decency wears better than immodesty. Move with right attitude. Don’t ape anyone else. Be yourself!
Be respectful with your teachers — the teachers in colleges are different from the school. You need to take the first step to relate with them. Introduce yourself to your lecturers and seek their assistance.
Set rules for self — the last one sums up all. When you are in the college and additionally in the hostel, you have more freedom than you can image. Only self-rules could make you a better person.