I don’t know about you, but it’s always been amusing to me how people refer, sometimes back to back, to two common descriptions of college life–the “starving college students”, munching on nothing but ramen because college life is too expensive. Simultaneously, however, there exists the “freshmen fifteen”, an expected weight gain for the first year of college. Starving while getting fat?
Like anything, everyone’s experience is different. Some people–depending on what school you go to, a LOT of people–have plenty of money. Family money, money from some job they managed to score, scholarships and difficult to come by financial aide. Others, like myself, have a little more trouble. Without connections in this economy (yes, I said it), even a part-time job has become hard to come by. Was I a starving college student? That’s a little extreme. Believe me, on my meal plan (required for full time students at my school) I ate plenty. But yes, money isn’t plenty, and I spent my freshman year juggling class, social life, part time job, and attempting to sleep.
And the weight gain… Well, that can happen, too. Stress eating rampant. I remember one shame filled night while my roommate was out of town where I shoved down an entire King sized carmello and a full size of Sour Patch kids. But the thing people don’t mention is the exercise. College students do a lot of walking, whether campus is big or small. And I lived on the third floor, so there was that. My weight went up and down. I lost at first, then I gained. By summer it was plus 10 pounds. Right now I’m happy to say I’m getting it together–no more late night sugar fests in my future (okay, except maybe my love affair with Busken smiley cookies…)
College life is like a gateway to adulthood–you’re getting responsibilities, you work for your money, you go into debt, you monitor your own food intake, and your own wallet. But in some ways, you’re still a kid. Just minus the metabolism.