Delhi University is considered to be one of the top educational institutions in India. Every year the city fills to the brim with students coming from different parts of the country to study in the colleges under it and make this city their second home. Though students spent their first year online due to the recent pandemic, things abruptly changed when the university suddenly switched to offline teaching in February 2022. Many students found it hard to cope with this precipitous change, leading to both stress and isolation.
It can be hard to move out of one’s hometown and live alone in a completely foreign city. But this is also the first step toward adulthood. A person goes through a whirlwind of emotions on this journey. It is a bittersweet experience, as many students enjoy a sense of freedom for the first time, being away from their parents and with no curfews. However, there is also the added stress of managing your expenses and doing basic tasks by yourself, be it doing your laundry, cooking meals, etc. The crowded metros seem overwhelming sometimes and naturally, you yearn for the comfort of home pretty early in this newfound freedom.
Here I enlist five methods to help you mitigate your homesickness and enjoy your college life to the fullest. While your hometown will always have a place in your heart, the college-time memories are also to be cherished. As someone from East India myself, I’m always reminded of how far I’m from home and cannot plan to go back without a week’s holiday. Every time I feel low, I give myself some time and try out one of these hacks. You may too consider giving these a try:
Being rooted in your culture
Delhi has a diverse student body and there is a place for everyone. One of the best ways to get rid of homesickness is to still stay in touch with your culture and tradition. For instance, there is a vibrant North-eastern culture in places like Majnu Ka Tila and various colleges have their own North East Cell as well.
While assimilating into the new culture, one should not forget their roots. In a country like India, this is especially important because of the various festivals. In any case, our culture is so deeply ingrained in us. It can be seen in the way Bengalis look forward to the Durga Puja celebrations. Though it is not a festival celebrated with grandeur in North Delhi, the student body of several colleges plans events and functions to make outstation students feel a little more homely. As a half-Bengali, I sometimes get shocked when I don’t see a pandal every three or four kilometers as I am accustomed to since my childhood.
Just recently, North campus colleges like Hansraj and Hindu had Onam celebrations, which were carried out with immense enthusiasm by South Indians and other students as well. The students of North East Cell also organized brilliantly the Bihu festival across the university.
Socialize at different levels
While many consider having a large group of friends cool, it is not necessarily true. You cannot bond or feel comfortable with everyone you meet, which is totally okay. Rather than finding friends in everyone, you can focus on different ways to approach people with similar interests as you.
This includes meeting people through college societies, school friends who are also in Delhi now, and your PG/hostel mates. Though sometimes it’s draining to socialize so much and make plans with everyone, it can also be a fun way to destress after hectic college days.
Talking about my experience, the recent abrupt changes in weather have led to many of my classmates getting sick, including myself. Many of the PGs are negligent towards this and even provide unhealthy food. So, having a friend in your PG will not only help you during such crises but also give you a sense of comfort.
Evening walks with music
This might seem mundane, but it is actually helpful. Sometimes homesickness also means that a person cannot be their true selves, the way they are at their home, in utmost comfort. A walk can freshen up your mind during these times and also lead you to explore interesting places.
Though one might have heard infamous rumors about the Kamla Nagar Ridge, walking alongside that trail can be really calming. Although it is advisable to not go too late in the evenings and beware of the notorious monkeys. Some cases of phone snatching have occurred late at night or during quiet afternoons, too.
Similarly, a large number of students living on-campus can try out window shopping and delicious street food. A short metro ride can also lead you to a walk along the grandiose architecture of CP or the vibrant markets of Chandni Chowk, which is the perfect place to grab a taste of authentic Delhi.
Explore a new hobby
Delhi has much to offer to its students in terms of career opportunities. Today’s competitive world requires students to be more than just academically good, but also to excel in extracurricular activities.
On one level, there are many diploma courses offered by renowned institutions. For instance, the language courses provided by Jawaharlal Nehru University are very much sought after, even if they require entrance exams. Learning a new language has been very much in trend these days, with the most learned languages, including French and German. The rising popularity of K-pop and Korean dramas has also led some students to learn Korean.
Similarly, people in the creative industry take up the certificate courses introduced by institutions like the London School of Trends. While some courses might seem too expensive, there is always an option to try out distance education or attend regular workshops held on individual topics.
However, one of the other easiest and most convenient ways would be to look up college societies associated with your interests. For example, the photography society can help you if you are looking for a career in the industry of graphic designing, animations, etc; while the debating society will help you gain confidence in public speaking and realize serious global issues.
Stay in contact with family and old friends
Lastly, this is the most important point. As everyone tries to fit in, the first few weeks of college are overwhelmingly blurred. As the weeks pass by, the students get into a mechanical routine of shuffling between classes, assignments and tests. Some also might get a bit too indulged in hanging out with their new friends. It is very crucial to remember the efforts your family has put in to send you here. So even if it’s a simple text, do send it to ease a few of their worries.
Some students get nagged by their parents to visit some distant relative who also lives in Delhi and it does seem annoying to visit someone who is a stranger. But remember, even if they are a stranger to us, they are someone our parents trust us with. So even if you do not make elaborate weekend plans with them, do take some time off and visit them because you might run into some emergency (though I hope you do not) and need their help.
Homesickness leads to reminiscing about perhaps the golden school days in our lives. In those times, there might be a certain friend on your contact list whom you can call without hesitation and both of you spend time laughing about childhood antics. The college will give you many new friends, both permanent and temporary; but please don’t leave behind those friends who have been special to you throughout all these years.
Remember, you have chosen this college and city, so now embrace it with open arms and enjoy exploring a new place!