Let’s face it, dining halls aren’t always the most desirable places to eat. They’re crowded, sometimes messy and the food can be sub-par.
During my freshman year I didn’t really have the best experience living in East Neighborhood, where the dining halls weren’t the greatest to say the least. Hubbard Hall’s dining food always seemed like I was eating leftovers from the day before.
But now that I live off campus, I had to decide whether I wanted an off-campus meal plan or not.
Packing my lunch seemed so elementary school. I didn’t really want to whip out my old SpongeBob lunch box. In addition, my mother wasn’t here to pack my lunch and leave sappy notes in it — diminishing the appeal even more.
Not only would no one be making my lunches, but I would have to make my dinner myself too. I’m no Bobby Flay in the kitchen, so spending over a half hour in the kitchen isn’t exactly a pleasurable or easy experience for me.
Soon into my sophomore year, cooking got really old really fast. Trust me, Easy Mac does not taste good after eating it every day.
I finally caved and purchased the DineOn 175 off-campus meal plan, which would provide me with 175 meals that carry over until I graduate. With this meal plan, it is considerably cheaper at $6.75 per meal, rather than paying more than nine dollars for each individual swipe at the dining hall.
After purchasing the meal plan I got so excited to eat lunch on campus the next day. All I could think about that night was eating in Shaw Hall and drowning in freshly-baked Shaw Hall cookies and all the other goodies Shaw Hall has to offer.
Dining hall food never tasted so good. Although I already had a mad love affair with Shaw Hall’s blackened chicken, it tasted 10 times better because I didn’t have to make it for myself.
I fell in love with dining on campus. I didn’t have to make the food. I didn’t have to go all the way back to my apartment to catch a bite of food.
Going to the dining hall used to seem like a chore. Now that I go there less often, going to the dining hall seems like a treat. The different types of bread, drinks, fruits, deserts, cereals, lettuce toppings and other condiments — something I took for granted when all of that was unlimited.
Now with my extra appreciation of dining halls, every time I eat on campus I want to make the most of it. Rather than just get a small meal and not think anything of it, I make sure my plate is full — and maybe a second plate, too.
At the end of the day, I am so glad I purchased a meal plan. If you’re living off campus, make the best out of each meal. Look at the menus beforehand, eat like a hound and don’t feel guilty taking some food home for later — but you didn’t hear that from me.
Anthony Herta is an intern at The State News. Reach him at email@example.com.