A college hostel is a great boon to those whose homes are far away. To such boys a hostel is like a home, where they can enjoy most of, if not all, the comforts and pleasures of home.
Life in a college hostel has undoubtedly certain advantages. The boarder feels himself to be a part of his college. He enters more fully into the corporate life of the college, than the day-scholar who simply attends the school and then goes away home. An esprit de corps is always stronger among the boarders than among the day-scholars.
Then the boarder is required to abide by the rules and regulations of the hostel. This is an excellent training in conduct and character. It prevents him from going astray and yielding to certain evil tendencies. Those who live together in a community learn to sympathies with one another and develop liberal-mindedness.
Another advantage derived from life in a hostel is the formation of regular habits in life. The boarder is not free to do what he likes. Here he is required to take meals at fixed hours, has to return to the hostel in the evening before a certain hour, and has to work till the bell goes for his sleep. These habits of regularity tend to develop his character and help him greatly in his after-life.
But hostel life has its disadvantages too. The spirit of independence and freedom inherent in the boy is crushed. While this may do some good to boys of violent and ungovernable disposition, it does positive harm to boys of shy nature. It is a pity that under the weight of too strict discipline practiced in some hostels, the tender spirits of boys are crushed so that when they come out of the hostel, they are found no good for the battle of life.
Besides this, there is another disadvantage. It deprives the boarder of home influences. Nothing can take the place of the gentle influence of the loving mother, or the disciplinary measures taken by the father whose actions are always governed by a heart full of affection for his son. If he is ever cruel to the boy, he is ‘cruel only to be kind.’
Then in a hostel, unless there is very strict discipline, continuous and uninterrupted study is difficult. Noise and the visits of the lazy boys, and the disturbance caused by mischievous boys, often make it impossible for sensitive boys to apply themselves whole-heartedly to their books.
Lastly, there is every chance for innocent boys to get into had company. They often form undesirable friendships which greatly influence their character in the wrong direction.