College students and the dining experience at their respective colleges is something that doesn't always go hand in hand.

For students with dining halls, the food is the same week after week, you have to eat around the hours of the dining halls, it's not super healthy, it can be more money than what it's worth you run out of swipes too fast, and so on.

On my campus, it's a whole other ball game where our dining plan essentially functions like a debit card that we can use at 90+ dining venues around campus. It may sound great, but have you heard of a college student who is an expert at budgeting? I haven't.

Plus, try using this dining plan in an urban setting that doesn't make financial accommodations to the budgets of college students who may have $1,400 or $2,300 to spend each semester depending on whether or not you have access to a kitchen, isn't a piece of cake either.

We make it work though.

Or at least I do.

My freshman year without a kitchen, it definitely got very burdensome eating at the same rotation of places and the freshman 15 was present in one way or another. I missed eating the healthy homecooked meals my mom makes. By the end of the year, I was excited to move into my new living situation which gave me access to a kitchen.

Now, most nights, or at least the nights where I have time, you'll find me making dinner. Which I absolutely love.

My friends will question why I spend time making myself meals, either that or they'll be in awe over how seemingly gourmet my dinners are.

But to me, it is no big deal.

For me, cooking is my main form of self-care when it comes down to it.

I love spending an hour or so preparing a meal. It gets my head out of my homework and I am able to use my brain in a different way.

So often when we take breaks from homework it just involves looking at a screen but in a more mindless way than doing your readings or writing a paper.

But when I use cooking as a way to take a break, my mind is still active but I am using it in a new way, thinking about what I need to cut, measure, season, and cook and in what order as opposed to critically thinking about a research article, or puzzling through an economic problem.

It is so refreshing.

Plus, after I put in the work of cooking the meal, I get to enjoy it. There is nothing more satisfying to me than eating food that I have freshly prepared for myself. I can tell that it is nutritious, it is satisfying, it tastes good, and I know where and when it was cooked.

And then there are dishes to be done, which isn't as fun, but having a homecooked meal is definitely worth the added chore.

So even if you don't consider yourself a cook, I suggest you try looking up a recipe and making yourself a meal. You'll definitely notice a difference in how the food tastes and how you feel. To me, it is the best feeling to eat a plate full of vegetables and well-prepared protein after going a couple of days of only eating out. Plus, if you make enough for leftovers, you'll also end up saving money!