Freshman Fifteen: What You Don’t Know about the Dining Halls on Your Campus

by on July 28, 2011
college campus dining halls

I can’t believe it is almost time for school to start again. Where did the summer go? While it’s a bummer that summer is over, this can be an especially exciting time if you’re heading to college for the first time.

Are you ready? Do you have everything checked off the packing list they sent you? Did you attend orientation, find your housing, register for classes and meet your roommate? Have you talked about expectations with your parents around how often (and how) you will communicate?

Damn, there really is a lot to keep up with, figure out and remember, isn’t there? That’s the thing.

Life as a college freshman can be really exciting with a new independence you haven’t experienced until now, but it can also bring on unexpected stress as you enter a world full of unknowns, where a fresh start can feel like completely starting over.

A couple of weeks ago at a freshman send-off for the UGA class of 2014, a Junior at the event (we’ll call her Jane) was sharing some tips with an upcoming Freshman, and there was one tip in particular that was stressed quite a bit. This one kind of surprised me, but it also made a lot of sense. I thought I’d share it with you just in case a generous upper-classman that knows the ropes forgets to share it with you herself.

Drum roll, please. Freshman tips you might not hear about:

Check out all of the dining halls, not just the one closest to your dorm

Apparently, dining halls aren’t just for eating anymore. Who knew! According to Jane, there are certain halls on her campus that are prime sites for great late night studying and as-good-as-the-bars social scenes (including the cutest guys.) And most of them have free wi-fi.

Hopefully, you were able to visit all of the dining halls on your campus during orientation, but even if you did, odds are you were simply sizing them up as places to eat.  You may want to schedule a follow-up tour once school starts to find out what else the dining halls can add to your college experience.

Things to consider on your Campus Dining Hall Tour:

  • What food do they serve? It sounds like the food options have definitely improved since I was in college. One hall at UGA even serves sushi. Nice!
  • What are the hours of operation? I hear the 24/7 halls are prime spots for that late night studying and late night snacking, which could be great socially.
  • Where are they located? According to Jane, it could be worth a little prioritizing and time management to make sure you get to the right halls at the right times.

Check out your college’s website for specific information about dining halls on your campus. For instance, UGA’s website offers info like: 10 Things to Know, 20 Great/Worst Things About the Meal Plan and detailed reviews of each dining hall.

Oh, and one last thing: beware the Freshman Fifteen, the average fifteen pounds a college freshman gains in their first year at college.  Dining halls are loaded with a smorgasbord of tempting foods that taste damn good but aren’t so good on the waistline. If you hang out at dining halls for studying, socializing, etc., be careful of snacking or you’ll find out you’re not only hanging out with new friends but also the notorious Freshman Fifteen. (Here’s another take on the Freshman Fifteen that’s kind of cool too.)

Best of luck to each of you Freshman ladies as you venture to your respective campuses to begin your college career. College is such an amazing time to not just get more educated about WHAT you want to be but also about WHO you want to be and how you want to show up in your life.

Whether you are a freshman or you’re returning to college as a sophomore, junior or senior, I’d love to hear how this advice from Jane about dining halls measures up on your campus. If you have some great suggestions for the best dining halls at your school, make sure to leave them in the comments below, too!!

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