The first taste of pure freedom.
That’s what youths dream about when they move from small rural towns to big cosmopolitan cities. In India, a majority of youths reside in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore, which is home to a large percentage of the country’s college population. Millions move to these cities for higher education and end up settling there.
City life, however, quickly makes them realise that the comfort of their homes can never be replaced by the freedom they dreamt of having. With freedom comes responsibility and with responsibility comes anxiety.
According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is a normal human emotion. Some amount of anxiety before an event, presentation or performance is considered good and can potentially enhance a person’s performance.
Separation anxiety, on the other hand, is caused by being away from the people and places to which one is attached. Although this disorder is usually experienced by young children, it is also a common issue in the initial days of a student’s college life. For many university students, college is the first time that they live away from their homes.
For most students in India, the shift from a small town to a metropolitan city is one of the most drastic changes they’ll undergo during their life. The sudden loss of the traditional support system of family and friends along with the change of locality can cause a great deal of anxiety.
All of a sudden – they are expected to act responsibly, not only for themselves, but also for the basic necessities that were previously looked after by their parents.
The first and second semesters are one of the most crucial periods in a college student’s life. This is the time when they are most likely to start having anxiety issues. Everything looks like a blurry and fast moving motion picture that they weren’t prepared to watch just yet.
Nevertheless, anxiety issues may or may not surface in their first year of college. A lot of first year students tend to avoid the issue by keeping themselves busy all day. The issue, however, cannot be avoided forever and will make its presence felt when the student is under great pressure, which is usually during the examination period.
The dramatic shift from a town that is small enough to explore in a day, to a big city with its multitude of attractions sounds great and exciting. But in reality, it is a difficult adjustment. The people, the climate, and the place: are significantly different from what they are accustomed to. Dealing with the unknown causes anxiety which students have to cope with – either knowingly or unknowingly.
Staying away from home might be difficult, but a drastic change such as this forces the individual to adjust to a new life. By the time students begin with their third semester, they are all settled down in the new city and their small towns feel slow and mundane to them.
For college students, staying away from home may be difficult initially and might even go as far as to cause separation anxiety. But in the end, it helps them shape their future and train their minds to manage – and perhaps even thrive – away from home.
Is the taste of pure freedom worth the price? You decide.
About the Author
Khushi Shah is an undergraduate student pursuing Mass Media. She is the co-author of several anthologies in Hindi and English. She is a contributing content writer for the E-magazine and Literary Fairy Tales and was the former editor of her school magazine.