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.
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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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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

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10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

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11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

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12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

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13. Frat House Dr. Sign

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14. Beer Lights 

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Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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Holidays That Need More Recognition: November Edition!

Not Just Turkey Month Anymore!

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Here's another list of underappreciated holidays! This time we're looking into November, a month dominated by the thought of Thanksgiving and Veteran's day. However, there are many more holidays that go under the radar throughout the month! Here's this month's top ten! Use these reasons to celebrate, and help others!

National Chicken Lady day -Nov. 4

This holiday sounds pretty food-centered, so I was a little confused when I saw it was categorized under 'Cause,' instead of food. It turns out it was started in honor of Dr. Tina Dupree's efforts in boosting raising the bar around learning and education. "For the past 20 years, Dr. Dupree has helped, inspired, and encouraged thousands of people to live their dreams, achieve their goals, and improve their lives by investing in themselves" (WE For Women Magazine). Read more about her here: https://wemagazineforwomen.com/today-is-national-chicken-lady-day/

World Kindness Day -Nov. 13

Support

https://www.pexels.com/photo/four-people-walking-while-holding-each-others-arms-1282267/

In a world full of suffering and heartache, a day set aside to be kind to one another is a gem to be protected. This day is a day to go out of your way to do something nice, something special for someone else. Everyone needs kindness, and everyone is going through stuff. Use this holiday to be there for someone. Be happy that you were able to positively influence somebody's day! For some good ideas about what to do, check out this site: https://www.naturalbeachliving.com/acts-of-kindness/

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day -Nov. 17, in 2018

Banding Together

https://www.pexels.com/photo/ground-group-growth-hands-461049/

This holiday is both a holiday of remembering, and a holiday of healing. It's a time to remember the lives of loved ones who committed suicide, and also a time when people afflicted by this kind of loss get to tell stories of their grief journey, and heal together, surrounded by people who understand what they're going through. "Survivor Day is the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope." International Survivors of Suicide loss day is a day to be sensitive to others and be there for someone you know. It's also a time to be there for someone who may be showing inclinations toward suicide, and prevent the loss of a life.

National Princess Day -Nov. 18

Princess dresses

https://www.pexels.com/photo/assorted-color-floral-clothes-1057313/

National Princess Day is a day when all little girls (and big girls, too) can release their inner princess! Princesses are more than just a dress and a tiara. They are kind, brave, and selfless, all things that we could be. The more we exhibit these traits, the more good we're doing to influence the world. Join in on the celebrations!

National Entrepreneur's Day -Nov. 20

Starting small

https://www.pexels.com/photo/group-of-friends-hanging-out-933964/

This holiday celebrates those who are taking a huge leap. National Entrepreneur Entrepreneurs show up all around our worlds. Photographers, YouTubers, DIY-ers, pretty much anyone who starts out on Etsy. Celebrate their bravery and accomplishments on this day by doing something you wouldn't normally do. Maybe go out of your way to hire their services, or take time to purchase something from a smaller business on Etsy. There are a number of ways you can help your community and Economy.

Future Teachers of America Day -Nov. 20

Apple On Books

https://www.pexels.com/photo/256520/

This day does double holiday duty, taking a day to celebrate those who are going out into the world, risking all they have into their business provider and those that shape the mind of the next (next) generation. The Future Teachers of America day celebrates students who are going to take the next step and change America for the better, by teaching values and math to the people that come after them. Teachers are a huge part of who we are, and why we know what we know.

National Espresso Day-23

Breakfast Drink

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National Espresso Day lets you get some (okay a lot of) caffeine into your system as a part of a celebration! This year the holiday falls on the same day as Black Friday. Celebrate this holiday as a necessity, as who will be able to continue shopping at four in the morning without a shot of espresso?

International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women -Nov. 25

Blurred 'Peace'

https://www.pexels.com/photo/pink-peace-light-sign-752473/

Women are targets of violence because we are, on average, less physically strong than men. This, of course, makes us targets to violence in any number of ways. This day celebrates women banding together to take a stand against the violence. Every kind of violence needs to stop. Joining the other women internationally to celebrate this holiday is the first step. Make it a movement, and the violence rates can start to go down. Help us celebrate this day and make a difference.

Giving Tuesday -Nov. 27

Giving small gift

https://www.pexels.com/photo/photography-of-a-man-and-woman-laughing-1165609/

The first Tuesday after celebrating Thanksgiving, we have an international chance to give others more to be thankful for. "#GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving." Giving Tuesday supports all kinds of charities. Check out their homepage for ways that you could give to help!

Veteran's day -Nov 11/observed Monday

Soldier and Black Dog

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While almost everyone in America knows about National Veteran's day, it is an underappreciated holiday. Veterans give everything to their country. Often, that includes their lives. When those that come home do, they are meeting with adjustment issues, PTSD, and traumas that can haunt them forever. Yet all we do is post a sign or a Tweet saying thank you? Words, while nice, are not enough. We need to, and we can do more for our veterans. If you were to celebrate any holiday, celebrate this one, however belated it is. Pick a program that can help veterans. And take your time off to do. If you know a veteran, offer to help him out. If he doesn't need help, ask for the names/numbers of friends, to see if you can help them. These are the men and women that sacrifice everything to protect the country. Even if you disagree with their politics, or dislike something they say, they deserve respect and could use some help. To volunteer to help, follow the link: https://www.dav.org/help-dav/volunteer/volunteer-locally-help-veterans/

From Coffee to stopping Violence, here are 10 underappreciated holidays, that you can start celebrating now, and make an immediate difference in your community. Helping others is a big part of a community, and all could benefit from any two holidays off this list. Give to others, support our veterans, and spread kindness.

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