Those who have not lived for themselves. can hardly imagine how much hostel life adds to the interest and variety of life. It is a mistake to regard it difficult or prosaic. Much of it is easy and interesting.
A home-spun student knows very little of the ways of the world and still less of human nature and how to deal with it. He comes into contact with his class-mates only during college hours. When the academic atmosphere forbids those intimate relations which are essential to foster sympathy and fellow-feeling. A homebred boy reaches after years of one-sided education a condition of mind-blindness in which the truth about himself and the world is not recognized, though it stares him full in the face. In the home, wonder, awe, and curiosity have little room to develop.
There is no doubt in the fact that in the hostel there is nothing to replace the wholesome influence of parents, the unconscious inspiration we draw from their magnetic personality and the healthy atmosphere produced by the members of the family. But there are other things in hostel life that far outweigh these advantages of home.
Hostel life is in itself both a guide and an entertainment. A youth is thrown in with a large number of students of all ages, places, and minds. This corporate life furnishes a sense of comradeship. It fosters an attitude of generous, friendly rivalry. Nothing delights so much or goes to the heart so deeply as the example of virtues when they are exhibited in the morals of those who live with us. Hostel life brings students closer and makes them more intimate. It teaches them how to live an independent life. It broadens their outlook and cultivates a fraternal attitude. And lastly, it animates them to feel like brothers in a great society whose honor is their honour. whose interest it is their first consideration.
Personal contact with others enables a student to appreciate better the failings or successes in his own line of work. He learns to look with the more charitable and sympathetic eye on the work of those whose opportunities have been more restricted than his own, and sometimes in contact with a master-mind he may take fire and the glow of enthusiasm may become the inspiration of his own life.
Comfort, peace and happiness may indeed be found in home life but they can, as well, he found in the hostel, and without any of the drawbacks which attend them at home. Every day of the hostel life produces pictures after pictures, experiences after experiences so that life is always cheerful and every moment the bringer of fresh things. How much pleasanter it is to ride a spirited horse, although a little arduous and risky at times than to creep along on a jaded hack. In the one case you feel under you the free, responsive spring of a living force, in the other, you have to spur a lifeless slave. The spirited horse may break your neck, but that is surely better than lying wrapped up in cotton-wool at home.
Hostel life also adds to one’s love for home. It is ever so refreshing to get back to the land of sunny looks and dear old voices and greet the true hearts that have ever longed for our home return.