Mathematically proven: impossible first year 15
It is humanly impossible to gain the freshman 15 — or should I say first-year 15 — and I can prove it with a simple story. You may have heard whispers of it behind closed doors. It is the story of the $8 banana.
For a moment, let’s pretend I’m not going to be some kind of humanities major and do a little calculating, just to mix it up a little. Most first years get the “Plus 15” dining option because they are under the illusion the food will be “tasty” and “edible” and the dining hall is an expansive epicurean paradise where they will actually want to go 15 times a week. I don’t know what drug the kids are doing these days. Whatever it is, it must be pretty trippy, because anyone who thinks the dining hall will be anything above a low-end, rural Applebee’s is delusional.
The Plus 15 plan costs $2,125 a semester. There are roughly 17 weeks in a semester. So if I integral-ed and derivative-ed correctly, this means every time you swipe your card, your meal costs $8, give or take. But when you go to the dining hall under the impression you will be served food and soon realize you simply receive meat seasoned with the tears of all who are forced to eat it, it is likely you will just grab a banana. Many a stomach groan later, you realize, yes: You did indeed spend $8 on a banana.
That’s assuming, of course, you actually make it to a dining hall, or the equivalent meal swipe alternative, 15 times a week. Which you won’t. Because as most first years quickly learn, this isn’t the Palace of Versailles, and the only thing close to a delicacy you are going to find at O-Hill are the surprisingly delicate wraps that have a special way of always falling apart. Do not be fooled. Just because they add blue cheese and spell “bleu” the French way does not mean Marie Antoinette would think twice before deciding she’d rather eat cake.
“But they have buffet-style offerings,” you all cry, indignant at how quickly I overlooked the biggest attraction of these houses of horror. Alas, my hungry friends, you are wrong again. The phrase is “all you can eat,” but it would seem that all I can ever eat is a little bit of this, a little bit of that and ice milk. Kudos, by the way, to whomever thought they could nutritionally jazz up the frozen yogurt station by calling it “ice milk.” It may be the smartest thing since Congress said the tomato sauce on pizza counted as a serving of vegetables. America!
But back to the “food.” At this point, you may have suspected my claims are a tad extreme. And yes, I’ll admit that at times hyperbole is my closest friend. This, however, is no exaggeration. I have meant, with all my heart, a solid 40 percent of what I’ve said thus far.
Still, I apologize if I’ve been unduly harsh. I understand life isn’t a big black-and-white cookie. I also understand that I could be tempted to retract some of my earlier criticism with, say, a black-and-white cookie. I really don’t ask for much.
This whopper of an article — yum, a Whopper — really wasn’t intended to fry anyone — ooh, fries. All you Sherlock Holmes-types out there have probably sleuthed out by now that I’m really just hungry. I’m starting to think there should be a rule against writing on an empty stomach, just like there’s a rule against talking about your late dog Scooter and your ex-boyfriend’s mom on a first date — don’t do it. You’ll only say things you regret.
That being said, I have been full of dining hall discontent during my time at Mr. Jefferson’s University. I know our great founder was also a philosopher, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if he was super pumped about “starving today’s youth so they will be hungry for leadership tomorrow” or something lofty and ridiculous like that, but I wasn’t aware that upon enrollment I would be subjected to meals that border on the unpleasantness of a 19th-century sweatshop.
Please, Mr. Jefferson, some foresight would’ve been nice. You hand-picked the original University curriculum, but you couldn’t just say no to the “chicken marsala?”
Julia’s column runs biweekly Tuesdays. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.