Urgent Support

Culture shock!

Coming from a small town, Mumbai was a dream city for Ankita. Getting admission in IIT Bombay meant that she was going to live in her dream city for the next 4 years. But life in campus was not at all what she had initially expected. She soon started feeling like she did not fit in. Her beliefs did not match with her friends on many topics. Her values were different from that of her wing-mates. She did not feel comfortable with certain things, which was again, very common among her classmates.

Initiation

Coming to a city like Mumbai and living on campus can feel like a big cultural change for some of us. Fitting in can also feel like a greater challenge if communication patterns, values, language etc. were very different in our hometown. It’s very natural to feel fascinated but also shocked, confused, irritated and even exhausted during the beginning. After all, there are a lot of new aspects to take in.

Remember, it’s okay to take some time to get used to things; after all you are doing your best.

Coping Mechanisms

Here are some points to help the process
Be open and flexible towards changes that you could be comfortable with:

Things may be different on campus and in Mumbai compared to what they were back at home. It's natural to like some of these changes while dislike others. Try treating this as a new adventure. Be curious about what’s around you and what you can learn from these changes. Take this an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone by observing where you can grow as a person.

Be respectful of diversity:

You’re surrounded by different people with very different ideas. It helps to remember that we all have grown up with varied versions of the ‘right’ way/thing.

Also, you’ll meet people from different backgrounds and expressing themselves in varied ways. While these changes can be surprising, it's essential to be respectful and let people be. After all, they are also struggling to fit in. You are not alone.

Just like we wouldn’t want to be judged or discriminated against, we must extend this respect to others too. Each one of us contributes to the other’s growth.

Maintain personal boundaries:

While it is imperative that you’re respectful of others, it's important to be clear about your own values and boundaries too. You don’t have to engage in anything that you’re not comfortable with.

You can learn more about dealing with peer pressure here

Find ways to deal with these emotions:

This experience will naturally bring up different emotions for you. It can help to journal about your experiences. Write about your daily experiences, what you’re thinking and feeling, what you like and dislike. If journaling is not something you like, engage in any activity (eg: anything creative) that helps you find meaning in what’s going on. Make sure to keep some time aside for it regularly.

Actively look after yourself:

Consciously take care of yourself. Spend time doing things that help you feel refreshed and recharged.

More

One way to do this could also be joining different groups and communities on campus. Being with other people, having fun interactions, going out and exploring can all help.

Reaching out to peers:

There will be others on campus who are experiencing something similar. Talking to people who understand our experiences can be hugely beneficial. Don’t hesitate in reaching out to your peers! Try and be connected with things, people, places, and spaces that are comforting and familiar.

Do not believe in stereotypes:

We often grow up listening to various unhelpful stories and ideas. We are made to believe that being from a bigger city, being able to speak English or that dressing up a certain way makes some people better than others. If you’re feeling out of place or like you don’t belong because of such ideas, please remember that these may not be true. This is your space too and you deserve to be here as much as any other student.

It is okay to take some time to get used to things. Credit yourself for the effort you’re putting in!
If feelings of homesickness are adding to your difficulties, refer to this article.
Listen to the experiences of other students here!

If this is not a big change for you

Remember that this wasn’t a hurdle you faced because of where you hailed from. Be sensitive to the vastly different experiences of others.

Offer support to those who might be feeling left out. Ask how you can be of help and follow through with your offers.

Do not endorse discriminatory acts / do not perpetuate biases / stereotypes even if it is for ‘humour’. Step in when you see that someone is not being treated right. Being a silent spectator is almost like being party to what is happening.

Seek help

If you’re facing any difficulties, there is support available on campus. Reaching for help is not a sign of weakness; rather, it can be empowering.
  • For academic concerns, the Faculty Advisor could be your first point of contact. You may also have specific queries about your different courses, in which case you can talk to your respective course instructors. The DAMP mentor (if you have one) would help you out as well.
  • For adjustment and other concerns, your ISMP/ ISCP mentor is your go-to person! It could be about your wingmates or about managing your schedule—your mentor has been there, done that.
  • For hostel-related issues please contact the Hall Manager (during office hours) or the Warden.
  • For physical ailments, lethargy, not being able to eat or sleep properly, or stress, approach the IIT Hospital.
  • For gender harassment-related issues, approach the Gender Cell. You can also contact Security or its Quick Response Team at any time if you feel a threat to your personal safety.
  • When emotions the get overwhelming or when you are simply confused about what is happening to you, talking to a counsellor at the Student Wellness Centre could give relief and provide guidance about what you can do.
  • Most importantly, your parents are just a phone call away. Don’t hold back from contacting them even if you just want to unburden!