The Silent Killer of College Life
When asked about the biggest struggles that college students face, many people would give a reply that goes along the lines of enormous workloads, palpable stress, financial debt, drinking problems, or even a lack of motivation. As a college student myself, I can attest that these are in fact huge struggles that we face every day, but for me, I somehow find a way to manage these. I’ve learned to efficiently manage my time to handle the workload and stress. I started to workout and participate in physical activity to manage stress as well. I’ve taught myself how to budget $1.39 over the span of two weeks to help combat the debt a little. (Knock on wood) I haven’t developed a drinking problem yet so that’s not really at the top of my list of struggles. I do in fact struggle with a lack of motivation sometimes, but most of us students do. Honestly, I consider dropping out every day, but look at me! I’m still here! All I have to do is remind myself that the hard work I’m putting in now will pay off more than I will ever know in the future. So here I am, dragging my ass to class every day and adapting to all of the bumps in the road that try to get in my way. I’ve handled almost everything perfectly fine, but there’s one thing I can’t seem to conquer: finding a decent, home-cooked meal.
The silent killer. Bad food. College is great, but after a month or two of subpar food, every student comes limping home with their eyes set on one prize and one prize only. As a freshman or sophomore, the food battles begin not with variety, but with quality. As students living on campus, we are forced to eat only what our dining plan covers because, you know, we’re broke as hell. A few different campus dining halls here and there and a couple fast food joints are basically the highlight of every college’s selections. Fast food is great once in awhile, but the food is cheap and can give you the freshman 15 in a blink of an eye. Depending on the place, dining hall food can be hit or miss, but overall, it’s hard to provide tasteful, quality of food for mass groups of students without breaking the bank. So either route you go, you’re left with a little empty feeling inside. As far as upperclassmen, the struggle only worsens. Not only are you broker than hell by this time, you typically live on your own. This means that you not only have to spend the energy to go buy food with the measly $2 in your bank account, but you also have to cook it for yourself as well. Little money=poor quality of food. Effort to cook=even poorer quality meals. Can you see the trend yet? The typical college diet may be as bad as anyone privileged individual will eat in their entire life. Cheap, bland, and unmade food captain the woes of campus-living college students everywhere. The worst thing about it: there’s no way around it. You can’t teach yourself how to buy food with no money. You can’t teach yourself to like below average food. You can’t teach yourself how to find the food that you grew up eating anywhere near college. Wonderful, home-cooked meals are even harder to get than A’s for most of us.
Some may try to argue that as long as you’re being sustained with enough nourishment then that should be adequate. Too bad I’m going to have to disagree. Right after you bomb a test or when you’re stressed or when you just woke up from a nap to avoid the realities of life, food is always my fallback. Nothing can cheer your spirits up faster than a homemade meal that you’ve learned to appreciate that much more now that they’ve become a rare occurrence in your college aged life. Eating food that isn’t the greatest three times a day for seven days a week can really start to wear on you. It may not seem like the biggest concern for some, but man let me tell you. If you’ve ever watched the hot dog eating contest in New York every Fourth of July, I can guarantee you that some some competitive eating scout would offer me a job if they ever saw me eat one of my mother’s dinners after being away for multiple weeks. Food not only nourishes the body, but it nourishes the soul as well. I can handle the workload and the stress of college, but it’s just too bad that I can’t convince the university to hire my mother as their head chef to free me of my school food stalemate. I guess the old saying is true that freedom doesn’t come without a price!