Where Is My Dinner? The College Student’s Search for Food

You are in college, so, unless you commute from home, your lunch no longer comes in a brown paper bag with mom’s handwriting on it and your dinner does not magically appear on a plate when you return home. You are now your only resource for food. Typically, you live in a dorm where there may be a communal kitchen down the hall, but probably your only option, as far as cooking goes, is a microwave. Then there is always the dining hall, which has its own pros and cons. The most fun is dining out with friends; especially when you can legally drink since most campuses have a no-drinking policy. As with everything else in college, this is all up to you. Your food, your health, your choice.

In this modern day, living off a microwave is simple. You can get breakfast, lunch and dinner all in a matter of minutes. Is this healthy? It can be. Is this expensive? Probably. Unfortunately, the cost of food is only going up because of the economy. Making food in your own dorm or apartment will be convenient in bad weather and during study crunch times. But, unless you have your own car, getting that food from the store may be an issue, and your buddy with the car may not always be around. So then, you look to the ever-present dining hall.

mass produced food at college cafeThe dining hall can be a wonderful asset to the busy student. Three meals a day, plenty of variety, and you do not have to cook or clean up. This frees up a huge chunk of time that can be used for studying or socializing. Going to the dining hall can also be fun. Most students go in big groups or meet new people each time. This can be a wonderful social outlet. However, there are a few cons. The hours of the dining hall may conflict with classes, the food is not always wonderful, and it can be a bit pricey. Just make sure your schedule allows dining hall time, and that you will actually eat the food before purchasing a meal plan.

Then there is the unavoidable restaurant dilemma. Your friends will invite you out, and you will get tired of ramen noodles. There is no harm in eating at a restaurant, just make sure you budget well. Yes, you may want that lobster and steak combo, but you may not have fifty dollars to drop on dinner. Go out and have some fun, just not for every meal or you will be broke and hungry. Eating out can be a very good option for celebrating, especially once you can legally drink. Most campuses do not allow alcohol, so going off campus for a drink with friends to celebrate an A on your exam could be your best option.

Whether you opt for the microwave, dining hall or restaurant, it is all up to you. Wherever you decide to eat, just make sure you are spending wisely and feeding your body what it needs to succeed.

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