Exit Survey 2020: Lifestyle

Design: Swati Sheenum, G Shreethigha, Shaurya Rawat, Abhiram Pavithran O, and Hardhik Pinjala.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020! The last semester wasn’t exactly the one you wished for. In these unprecedented times, we hope you all are holding up well. Enough with the consolation, lets jump into the survey results!

T5E’s Exit Survey 2020 was conducted in the month of july to study student’s perspective of studying at IIT Madras. The respondents of the survey were graduating students of the year 2020. The survey witnessed a total of 300 responses. The survey explored various aspects of a student’s life like Lifestyle, Personal, Career, Academics, Extra-curricular and Opinion.

From sleeping patterns to access to alcohol, there’s a world of difference between the insti and home way of life – which stands out even more acutely in times like these. In this article, we explore the lifestyle aspect and take you through the popular lifestyle trends of this year’s graduating batch. 

Showering Patterns

Majority of the population showered at least once in two days. This percentage also seems to vary with gender, being marginally higher in case of women.

Those who went without showering for weeks, we can only offer our condolences to your noses. And to your friends’. 

Sleep schedule and Breakfast patterns 

Only about 17% of the total respondents seem to have turned up in time for breakfast. On the other extreme, 31.4% almost always missed breakfast. Understandably, there was also a high correlation (0.49) between those who slept early, and those who turned up for breakfast. Early to bed, early to rise…otherwise, you just improvise?


Around 86.4% and 60.8% of respondents identified as non-smokers and non-drinkers. Among those who did smoke/drink, the respondents mainly picked up the habit before joining insti. The next most popular time-frame to pick up smoking/alcohol was after the freshie year. There were comparatively fewer people who started either smoking or drinking while in their freshie year.

How much does peer pressure actually influence substance usage?

Nearly 50% of those who claimed they were under some pressure to smoke/drink, actually picked up the habit once they joined institute. So, peer pressure is one of the prominent factors among other things which leads to substance usage. 

Relationship between those who smoke and drink

All of the respondents with a smoking habit, also had a drinking habit. Moreover, drinking appears to be more popular, with a higher percentage of people sticking to just drinks, as compared to drinking and smoking.

Was language a barrier to making new friends/ joining new groups?

Around 42% of respondents didn’t face any issues with language while making friends. Accordingly, nearly 44% of the respondents claimed to have friends that spoke all sorts of languages. Overall, language does not appear to be much of a barrier when friends are involved.

However, it did seem to play a key role in determining close-knit groups. Around 43% of respondents have friends belonging to the same linguistic group.

Spending patterns 

Most respondents spent under 1000 a week. A major chunk of the amount went towards food and supplies. The numbers for the distribution of money spent depicts the average proportions spent for each of the above things by insti students. 

Pressures faced at IITM


(Un)surprisingly, the most dominant pressure was to collect ‘resume points’, or doing tasks that simply sat pretty on a resume. This was followed very closely by participation in multiple extra-curricular activities. 

Which of these best describe your overall experience during your stay in insti?

A majority of respondents were either occasionally stressed, or more-or-less happy during their stay in insti.

Is substance usage connected to mental well-being?

Those who smoke or drank reported a marginally higher average stress rating (pro help was rated as 5, sad but not depressed as 4, stressed most of the times as 3, stressed sometimes as 2, and more or less happy as 1). The causality is not entirely clear from this but there is a high correlation. Whether stress causes substance abuse or whether substance abuse results in more stress is a question to ponder on and it may be either for different cases. 

How far has the Saathi/Mitr mentorship programme helped you during your stay here?

A large percentage of the respondents did not have an affirmative experience with their Saathi mentor. Only about a quarter of the respondents had received some form of help from their mentors, either in their freshie year, or in a few select circumstances afterwards.

Overall, insti’s mental health facilities seem underutilized. Around 82% of respondents claimed no experience with Mitr,YourDost or insti counsellors. Out of those who did give these a shot, about 40% had a positive experience to carry out with them.

Bucket List 

The top three most popular items crossed off the bucket list were surviving a monkey attack, seeing a tortoise/snake, and a trip to Pondy/Mahabs. More than 70% of respondents had responded positively to these.

The other end of the spectrum included climbing the tank of 1974, participation in an insti video, and finding GC’s fourth elephant, with under 15% positive response.

If every aspect of your insti lifestyle was known back home, what would the consensus be?


Roughly 30% of the respondents’ were candid about their lifestyle choices back home. The rest of the respondents did not keep their families in the loop. 

13.5% of the junta is at risk of their lifestyle choices turning scandalous; we only pray for your safety!


Let’s start with the one activity that’s supposed to happen in the morning, but happens whenever there’s time, whenever the threshold has been exceeded, or whenever water is available – showering. A vast majority showered at least once a day, with females’ showering frequency being marginally higher than males’. Breakfast at the mess saw some divided response, but there was a clear correlation between sleeping habits and skipping mess breakfast.

Here’s the juicy stuff. A lot of the graduating junta didn’t smoke, but those who did smoke definitely drank, and a larger majority drank. More people had picked up the habit in time-frames outside their freshie year. Those who drank or smoked fared slightly poorly in overall mental health issues.

Friends? Linguistic diversity was not an issue, as long as their close-friends weren’t in the picture.

Money to spend with friends? 1000 a week roughly, most of it going towards food and supplies.

RG while with friends? Yes, and major pressure was to collect ‘pressure points’.

Did these things make them happy/sad? Majority were more-or-less happy, with occasional stress.

What if they did get sad? They either tried insti services and didn’t like them, or avoided these due to general perception.

What’s the one top thing that everyone did? Fight a monkey. Or go to Mahabs. Or Pondy. 

What if their parents knew all these things? Well, some did tell at home, and some were sure that even if they did tell, it would be fine. But some are at a real risk of extinction- we feel for you!

This it for the lifestyle aspect of insti lives. Stay tuned for more analysis!

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