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.
1460
views

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

Popular Right Now

9 Things All Mexican Food Addicts Know All Too Well

Don't come between me and my Mexican food.
51267
views

In the city I grew up in, there is a Mexican restaurant just about every five miles. They are the after school hangouts and first date go-to's for most of the kids here, especially the high school girls.

I know the servers at my favorite one know my order almost every time I go in there (at least once a week). However, a lot of people apparently get tired of eating Mexican food about twice a week... but I sure don't. If you are a Mexican food addict like me, I am sure you know at least a few of these yourself.

1. Cheese dip tastes like heaven and you have to have it.

That amazing creamy white cheese dip put on a perfectly salted chip is enough to make your day better. Forget the actual food---we'd be content living off of cheese dip and chips for the rest of our lives. Our restaurant trip is not complete without an order of it and if you are lucky enough to get your favorite waiter, maybe even get a large bowl for the night.

SEE ALSO: An Ode To Queso, My First And True Love

2. You never have to look at the menu.



We know when we decide to go what we are having and it is probably the exact same plate we order each time. I am sure the servers laugh after I order some days because there is only three things I rotate between. My burrito is always my go-to, unless I am feeling fancy.

3. Some of the servers know who you are when you walk in the door.

Either by first name or by order they know us. You are the ones that they tell to pick your own seat and already have your drink order placed by the time you sit down.

4. Your boyfriend/ girlfriend puts you on Mexican restaurant restriction on date night.


You drag them there so much, they get tired of eating there. So much so, they flat out say no when you ask to go there on date night. I mean, how does someone get tired of Mexican food to begin with though?

SEE ALSO: The Perfect Skin Color For A Mexican?

5. You can hum some of the songs that come on.

We may not know what they are saying in the song, but we know the song---trust us. We are in there so much we remember them. Don't ask any questions when we start humming.

6. You "have" a parking spot.

Do not park in my parking spot that is not actually my parking spot, but is my parking spot. Got it? Just do not do it. That starts my meal bad when you take my normal spot.

7. You used to hangout there all the time after school.

It was the hangout spot. Forget the nasty school lunch--- everyone goes to eat Mexican after school. It's the cool thing to do and it started your addiction.

8. You always want to introduce new people to your favorite restaurant.

Oh, you aced that exam? Let's go eat at this amazing Mexican restaurant I love! We always want to find people to go there to eat with so we always introduce new people to it.

9. People always pick on you about your addiction.


Yes, I love Mexican food. Go ahead and tag me in all the memes on Facebook about tacos. As long as I have my Mexican food, I am fine with that.

All in all, we LOVE our Mexican food and our go-to restaurants--- so here is your warning. Don't come between me and my Mexican food.

Cover Image Credit: jenaroundtheworld

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The 3 Best 21st Birthday Gifts For Your BFF

Cheers to 21 years!

411
views

It's an odd time in your life when half of your friends go out to the bar on Saturday night and the other half sits in and watches movies. Now, depending on your friend, you have three ways that your 21st birthday gift idea can go.

1. For The Chill Friend

Giphy

If you have that one friend who always seems to be the rule follower and doesn't ever really go out and let their hair down, there is only one way to go: Lots Of Liquor. It's finally there chance to go out and get crazy. You, as their honorary bff, have no choice but to go all out and get them a full on basket of individual liquor bottles, bottles of mixers, and goodies to snack on! Another gift you're going to be obligated to throw in, though they may not notice, is that you'll be deemed the responsible one. Switch roles for a night and make sure your friend isn't totally re-tasting what they'd eaten for dinner... you want them to at least last through the pregame.

2. For The Party Friend

Giphy

We've all got the friend who's been breaking rules since they were able to walk. High school came around and you weren't even the least bit surprised that they were pregaming the football games in the parking lot. So, to them, happy 21st just means they can throw away their fake ID and use their real one. If this is the case, it's safe to assume they have all the necessary alcohol they want and they also already know what they like. The best gift to a party happy friend is a nice recovery basket for the next day. This should be stuffed with all the necessities, Advil, Pedialyte, and other the other day after must-haves.

3. For The Normal Friend

Giphy

All of our friends are not going to be crazy, out-of-hand rule breakers or goody-too-shoes. Sometimes you're going to have a friend who plays by the rules... most of the time. If this is the case, there is only one way to go: a little bit of both. You could probably be safe with a cute hand painted wine glass and a bottle of their favorite, but where is the fun in that? They know enough about alcohol to assume they will surely need that hangover kit the next day, but not enough to have it stocked and ready to party on their big day.

Related Content

Facebook Comments