Reader Request time!
I was unsure of what to expect when I first moved away from home and into a dorm to start college and live with someone I had never even met. It can be intimidating and scary to think of! Being the foodie that I am, I was also wondering about how the dining hall food would be, and how the heck I was going to haul all of my goodies with me and fit them in my room. (haha) With a new semester on the brink, I know many will be starting the same adventure I started a year ago and having survived it myself, I have a few words of advice.
Allow Time To Adjust
It felt very surreal when I first moved into the dorms…like I was living someone else’s life! It’s completely normal to feel out of whack for a while. Don’t stress too much about it and just try to view it as a new and fun adventure. Take advantage of the opportunities around you and make friends with people!
Take Advantage of the Dining Hall Cafeteria
My cafeteria had a lot of really great options. Everything from mexican, chinese, seafood, burgers, fully stocked salad bar, vegetarian options, ice cream machine, etc. I was worried that there would not be very many options that I would like, but it was completely the opposite. Most colleges do a pretty decent job on providing a solid variety of foods to meet the needs of every student. When I knew they were serving something that I really liked, I would sometimes take a to-go box and get another meal to put up in my dorm fridge for the next day. It was nice to have something ready to eat at any time the next day.
Invest in a Good-Size Dorm Fridge
Some mini fridges are really tiny and won’t fit much more than some pop cans. I got the largest mini fridge available and it was definitely worth the bit of extra money. It had a top freezer portion too which was so helpful. I actually had room to fit food in, unlike many of my friend’s fridges. Although I did eat at the dining hall quite frequently, I also made mini grocery shopping trips to have my own food as well. Having a fridge was a must for me.
Keep Easy Eats on Hand
Things I would commonly buy to put in my dorm room cabinet: cereal, oatmeal, crackers, nuts, individual cups of instant brown rice, protein powder, fresh fruit (from dining hall), protein bars/fruit and nut bars, packets of tuna/salmon.
Things I would commonly buy to put in my fridge: cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese sticks, deli turkey, almond milk.
if your fridge has a freezer: salmon burgers, veggie burgers, Kashi microwave meals, frozen veggies (to steam).
This stuff helped fill in the gaps when I didn’t have time to go to the dining hall, or it was closed, or I just wasn’t feeling their food, etc.
Relax and Enjoy the Experience
Dorm room living can be a lot of fun if you choose to look at it in a positive light. There are some times where it may not be the best situation, but it’s important to remember that it’s only temporary. It gives you a chance to meet new people, make friends, and adjust without being alone. Make the most of it, focus on the good, and don’t sweat the other stuff!
If I had to sum up my advice in one single sentence, it would be this:
Looking back, I spent a little too much time worrying and stressing, when I wish I would have just done this ^^^ instead. Make the most of the experience, be brave, and LIVE. You’ll only get to do this once in your life!