Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Before coming to school, I thought about a lot of things. I obsessively checked my school’s Facebook page for updates. I printed the perfect photos to decorate my wall with. I stalked the student organizations section of my school website. I picked my bedding online. However, something that did not cross my mind at all was the fact that I would actually have to eat while at school. I’m not exactly a foodie; forgetting to eat is a common occurrence for me. But, I wish I had thought about that a bit more, and here are four things I discovered during my first weeks on campus.

1. “Oh, I have 19 meals a week plus declining balance. I won’t spend a lot of money on food besides that.”

WRONG. I figured food wouldn’t be a big expense in college since I already had a meal plan and many on-campus restaurants to choose from. But you’re going to want snacks. LOTS OF SNACKS. I still don’t understand how I spend so much money on snacks, but at the same time, I probably should not be giving money management tips.

And even though I’ve been living here for almost nine months, I still feel like I’m in Disney World (okay, maybe not so much) whenever I’m in an American grocery store. There’s stuff like WATERMELON OREOS. So I admit I get a bit carried away sometimes. Besides with all those late-night snacks you’ll want to get, you’ll probably be eating out with your new friends a lot, so if you factor that in as well, you might be spending more money in food than originally planned. The logistics of it can be a total mess, especially if you plan to do anything else during the week planning what I was eating was a huge pain in itself. Things like crate hire made it a bit easier though. It was a tough period but I got through it.

2. “Yes, I want the biggest amount of meals per week!”

Wrong again. Dining hall gets boring pretty soon, and if you can trade a couple of meals per week for more declining balance (or whatever your school calls it) to spend on other places, you should definitely do that. Why would you want to eat rice when you can eat Chick-fil-a? Or Pizza Hut? Just, you know, in moderation, because Freshman 15 is a thing.

You’ll be spending a lot of time in your school cafeteria anyway, so why not shake things up a bit?

3. “Why is everything here so SPICY?!”

I mean, knowing this beforehand probably wouldn’t have changed anything, but at least I would’ve had the opportunity to mentally prepare myself because I don’t do spicy. I go to school in Louisiana, so yeah, it makes sense that everything is super spicy. Even our school mascot is a pepper. But does my mac and cheese need to be this hot? Why do I have to drink five glasses of water with every meal while my friend is adding even more seasoning to her chicken? Ugh #life.

You might want to think about the typical food in the place you’ll be living in, because, chances are, that that type of food, or at least that style of cooking, will be present in your dining hall. And let’s face it, your life pretty much depends on food.

4. “Why don’t I like anything here today?!”

I don’t know about you, but this happens to me a lot. I’m a picky eater, and even though I’m not proud of that, it’s just the way it is (OKAY, MOM?). So, after scanning the dining hall for options and realizing I don’t eat anything that’s being served, I usually cry and get cheese fries or pizza. I love cheese fries and pizza, but how am I going to fulfill my life long dream of being a Victoria Secret’s model if all I eat is cheese fries and pizza (Kidding. But not really…)? Seriously though, that’s not healthy.

And a little note on that Freshman 15 thing… Just because you can get a soft drink with all your meals, it does NOT mean you should. And yes, white chocolate mochas and caramel lattes are heaven in a cup , but you might want to try a different caffeinated beverage every once in a while that’s a bit healthier.

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the author

Clarissa Gallardo is a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Originally from Panama City, Panama (only place in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set on the Atlantic!), she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Ballet. A member of the Honors Program and dancer at heart, you can find her studying at the library, scrolling through her Tumblr feed , dancing, or reading. Clarissa has a really bad case of wanderlust and is obsessed with white chocolate mochas, The Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Reid from Criminal Minds. You can follow her on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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