From just barely making your midnight curfew to stumbling into your dorm room at 3 a.m., from having mom and dad help you with that English project to pulling an all-nighter at the library for your midterm, and from the end of your first long-term relationship to the beginning of a significant amount of weekend-long ones… these shifts are the epitome of the college transition.
One of the only negative aspects of the high school to college transition is the change in eating habits. If your family was anything like mine, family meals at Italian restaurants were a weekly norm, as well as delicious home-cooked dinners almost every night. Suddenly, you’re tossed into your brand new four-person dorm room with no sign of those veal parmesan platters… and just like that, Easy Mac and Spaghettios become your best friends.
According to University of Michigan freshman Elena Shmerling, her eating habits have worsened since arriving at school: “If I don’t have time to eat a meal, then I just don’t. I would rather get my work done or even relax since I never get to do that anymore than go to a dining hall or a restaurant and eat.” She also acknowledges that the type of food served at the dining halls—paninis, ice cream and grilled cheese, just to name a few—makes it difficult to eat healthily. “…vegetables and fruits have kind of gone down the drain, unfortunately.”
Shira Kreitenberg, another freshman at U of M, agrees with Shmerling on the basis of questionable eating habits, but she balances this alimentary dilemma by creating a much “better exercise routine” than the one she had before entering college.
On a more positive note, the birth of a new independence is one aspect that was unanimously listed as an important change in the college transition. U of M freshman Marti Satnick explains that at home, it was easy to rely on her parents for anything she needed, but here she must take responsibility for all the menial tasks that are easy to be taken for granted such as laundry and cleaning.
Kreitenberg touched upon another aspect of college freedom: “I am a lot more independent. I have more confidence to make many decisions on my own, which is something I would have asked my parents to help me with in high school.”
So, freshman: party hard on a Sunday night, eat one too many orders of cheesy bread and pull an all-nighter study session. You’ll most likely end up feeling hung-over, fifteen pounds heavier, or ridiculously exhausted in the morning, but, in the end it’s all about the learning experience. And college has an infinite number of those!