I'd Rather Be A Broke College Student Than Access My Meal Plan

I'd Rather Be A Broke College Student Than Access My Meal Plan

Everything wrong with dining halls in college.

As my first semester at college comes to an end, I can’t help but be most excited to return home to my mother’s homemade cooking.

Coming to college, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the same culinary luxuries that I had become so accustomed to at home: delicious dinners featuring almost every category of the food web, how to prepare or alter the preparation of my food and when to save some of my meal for later.

I had been to both day camp and sleep away camp, and knew what it was like to eat mass-produced food, though I did not find much of a problem with it. I even spent my middle school and beginning of high school years eating in the cafeteria, yet even those sandwiches wrapped in plastic wrap in the showcase for hours did not seem to phase me.

Little did I know, though, that I would have to subject myself to the disaster that is the dining hall. Among the bowls and plates, sizes comparable to that of my large toenail, is nearly anything to fill it. It’s probably better that the utensils are small, then, yet I can not help but be baffled by the emptiness of almost all ten stations at the South Quadrangle dining hall.

The breakfast station is bare, though the larger problem is the unflavored eggs that are scooped from the pan with an ice cream scooper. If you’re lucky, you can snatch an overly fried and oily tater tot. Be sure to avoid the bin of bagels if you're from New York, for these circular rolls are nothing in comparison.

The Mexican station, on the other hand, is always filled, only with the same thing every single day. Here, you can find a tortilla or rice with some meats (chicken and a few other substances that are hard to identify) accompanied by liquidy guacamole in a bottle, corn salad and some sauteed peppers and onions. I, too, thought that this was the closest thing I was going to get to Chipotle until I found myself contemplating my decision to eat it from the toilet. I guess it really is almost like Chipotle.

As for the other stations, the food looks so unappealing and unappetizing, in addition to being raw or moldy, that I can not even seem to recall the specific foods that they tend to prepare.

Except for Wildfire, that has the same curly fries and substance-on-a-bun every day. I have to admit, though, that the curly fries are comparable to that of an amusement park, a definite must have.

One can always stop by the stir-fry station, with a line in length comparable to that of Skeeps or Ricks, aka around the corner. Some of my friends rely on this station for their sole source of nutrients. I, however, lost faith in this station once I received a bowl of spicy sauce with a side of noodles and a few pieces of undercooked beef.

The salad bar is a safe haven, except for when the edamame is frozen, which is always. Sometimes there will be the occasional patch of mold on the lettuce, but that can’t phase you. Moving the field greens around with the plastic pair of tongues allows you to pick the perfect, mold-less batch of lettuce.

The sandwich station shouldn’t be a problem, except for when you ask for turkey and are served a slice of fat. So inconvenient, right?

The dessert section is like a box of chocolates (if only): you never know what you’re going to get. Some days the soft serve ice cream station is the place to be. Others, the strawberries with worms are probably not your best option.

If I follow my own advice, I most often leave the dining hall having a few bites of raw meat, frozen vegetables, carbohydrates fried in fats and a stomach ache like never before.

Beyond the food options are the drink stations, which have commercial machines that offer plenty of options. The only problem, though, is that the cups sort of smell and the water button has a slightly fruity taste because it comes from the same dispenser as the fruit punch.

Perhaps the largest and most vile wrong of the dining hall is the dispensing area. Of course, I don’t expect it to be a red carpet of empty and dirty dishes, but I certainly don’t expect it to smell like my local garbage dump. Walking through this area brings tears to my eyes, making me feel as if I am bathing in a pile of compost.

I guess it could be worse, though. If part of being a college student is being broke, then I might as well spend my debit card balance on the award-winning restaurants of Ann Arbor, right?

If I’m feeling quite lazy, which I always am, then a 50-step walk to the Michigan Union for a quick bite of Subway, Starbucks, and Au Bon Pain, amongst several other stores, is always convenient. If I need a boost of caffeine, I can always count on Espresso Royale or the Starbucks at almost every corner.

If I’m in a rush to get to class but don’t feel like having each of the 300 students in my lecture hear the rumbling of my stomach, I can stop into Panera, Piada or Amers. Or, of course, if I’m feeling the urge to pamper myself, I can wait around an hour for Savas, Aventura or just about any of the hundreds of places both on and near the University of Michigan campus.

Ultimately, fearing the dining hall is a wonder of freshman year of college. The experience would not be the same if we were all blessed with a four-course meal prepared by our families, would it? And as for our well-being and bank accounts, they can wait.

Cover Image Credit: Dylan Horowitz

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Almost 100 Percent Of What Servers Say Earning Your 20 Percent Tip Is BS

Here it is.... the truth.

So, if you don’t know, I am a waitress.

I deal with, so many different types of people and I have learned how to handle each kind of person.

I have had so many people that make my day a little brighter and then there are always those people that can easily bring me down.

No matter what, I always keep a smile on my face and give the customers the best service possible.

But I am ready to unleash all the thoughts I have built up for some of these customers.

So here it is, what servers want to actually say to you.

When I first walk up to the table and introduce myself:

What I say: Hello! My name is Maddie I am going to be taking care of you, can I start you off with anything else to drink other than water? Any appetizers?

What I want to say: Hi my dudes, let’s get this over with, c’mon what do you want to drink. Get a bottle of wine or something expensive.

When a customer asks me what exactly is on tap, or want to know every single kind of wine we have and what they all taste like:

What I say: *grabs drink list OFF THE TABLE IN FRONT OF THEM* here you are, I have a hard time remembering some of the drafts because we have newly featured ones all the time. Also, I can get you a wine recommendation if you would like.

What I want to say: Uh hello, the list is right in FREAKING FRONT OF YOU!!!!!!! Look at the list, and then ask me questions! K BYE.

When I come back with drinks and they ask me if I am going to bring out rolls:

What I say: Yeah, I can bring out some rolls! Would you like any appetizers or anything? Were we ready to order dinner?

What I want to say: *laughing* uhhhh you have been sitting here for a good three minutes please wait until I set your vodka soda down before asking about some crusty bread Tina. Thanks bye.

When a customer asks me what sides we have:

What I say: All of our sides are at the bottom of the menu, and we have mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, fries, mac and cheese, onion rings, etc.

What I want to say: READ THE MENU. THEN ASK QUESTIONS. AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I bring out the rare steak the customer ordered and they complain:

What I say: I can take it back to the kitchen and we will get it fixed right away!

What I want to say: ARE YOU JOKING. If you didn’t want it mooing and running around your plate then you shouldn’t have ordered it rare!!!!!!! CMON!!!

When I bring out the bills and a customer jokes around and says "I thought you were paying!?":

What I say: *laughs and walks away*

What I want to say: HAHAHA YOU THOUGHT. ME? PAY? After making $3 an hour plus your sh*tty tip. Yeah right.

When a customer asks me if the tip is included:

What I say: No, it is not, you have to include that when you sign the slip! Thank you!

What I want to say: ……..are.you.joking? *starts screaming*

When I go the table for the last time and say goodbye:

What I say: Thank you so much for coming in, have a great night! Come see us again!

What I want to say: Alright get to moving, I want to go home. I hope you tipped me good, seeeeee yaaaa. Peace out my dudes.

So there it all is. I laid it all out there.

Those are just a few things that I want to say to servers but instead I keep a smile on my face and stay kind and nice. It takes A LOT of work to maintain a nice personality and put up with the handful of people that come through the restaurant I work at.

So there you all go, how I truly feel and what I want to say to you.

P.S. - I am really sorry if I have ever served you before. Lol. Don't take it personally. :)

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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If You Want The Most Relaxing Weekend Getaway From NYC, Go To Tulum, Mexico

Escape the freezing temperatures and head to the sunny beaches.

With below freezing temperatures upon us in NYC, the white sand beaches and warm temperatures of Tulum, Mexico sound ever appealing. Tulum is located just a short two-hour drive south of the busy city of Cancun, Mexico. The numerous daily direct flights out of NYC make this trip truly seamless.

This small rustic town and laid-back vibe is the ultimate weekend getaway from the fast-paced lifestyle you’re surrounded by in New York City. Get out of the tundra and head over to your beach life get away. Grab some friends and your bathing suits and head over to Tulum for the most relaxing weekend of your life.

Tulum is special because you can interact with all the locals and experience their easy-going way of life. You truly get to immerse yourself in the Mexican culture and you get a sense of their spirituality.

This small, rustic town promotes a healthy, positive lifestyle in the sense that everything is fresh and requires physical activity.

The narrow streets, lacking room for cars, push the tourists to live like the locals and either ride bikes or walk everywhere. You have the opportunity to take long walks on the white sand beaches and stop at one of the many beachfront hotels for a quick lunch.



Most boutique hotels you stumble into offer moonlight yoga on the beach with the ability to channel all of your energy into the sound of the relaxing waves. Be sure to take advantage of the beachside massages offered by the hotels. After spending an entire day laying out its time to head over to a trendy dinner where the chefs are sure to take advantage of the local, fresh ingredients.


Must-see hotels:

  1. BeTulum
  2. Nomad
  3. Sanara
  4. Casa Malca

Must-see restaurants:

  1. Hartwood
  2. Raw Love
  3. The Real Coconut @Sanara hotel
  4. Posada Margarita

Must-see bars:

  1. Gitano
  2. Casa Jaguar
  3. Taqueria La Eufemia
  4. La Zebra

Safe travels!

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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