Moving out of your dorm and away from dining hall food can be a rough transition. At the time, you complained about the greasy pizza and sub-par salad bar your dining hall had to offer. But when you move off campus, reality is harsh. Cooking for yourself 24/7 seems fun at first, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not always as great as it seems. Here are 10 things I learned when I moved into my first apartment:

Hot sauce makes everything taste better.

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Photo by Emily Kim

Burnt your eggs? Hot sauce. Chicken tastes like paste? Hot sauce. Sick of rice and veggies? Hot sauce.

The Freshman 15 is real, but it’ll go away once you have to cook for yourself.

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Photo by Marci Green

Long gone are the days of swiping into the dining hall and eating to your heart’s content. Unless you’ve befriended a freshman to swipe you in, most likely you’re cooking for yourself which means instant oatmeal, eggs, and microwaveable veggies. The weekend pizza doesn’t do as much damage when you’re scrounging for food Monday through Thursday.

Expiration dates are a myth. If it smells fine, you’ll live.

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Photo by Kelli Haugh

Not sure why that salsa says it expired last June, ’cause it sure tastes all right to me.

Everything counts as a vegetable.

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Photo by Andrea Kang

That sauce on your pizza? Definitely counts as two servings of tomatoes. Got lettuce on that burger you inhaled Friday night? Look at you go, eating green. When options are limited, anything goes.

That drunken pizza you ordered at 3 AM makes a perfectly fine breakfast the next day.

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Photo by Mackenzie Barth

We get it, your fridge is empty and your cereal is stale and your roommate ate the last of your Pop Tarts. That lone slice of pizza left in the box from last night looks pretty tempting the next morning. Go ahead and eat it, we won’t tell.

The closest you’ll ever get to being Olivia Pope is living off of popcorn and wine.

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Photo by Kelli Haugh

You don’t have two hot men fighting over you and a chic apartment in D.C., so what? And maybe your wine isn’t up to Olivia’s standards, but let’s be realistic, it’ll do just fine.

The dining hall immediately becomes more appealing when freshman offer to swipe you in.

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Photo by Alex Weiner

You laugh in the face of your past self when you remember the days that you scoffed at another dining hall meal. Freshman year, you complained about how the mysterious pasta sauce hurt your stomach and the grilled cheese was too greasy, but as an upperclassman, you’ve learned better. A free meal is a free meal, no matter where it’s from.

Your Crockpot is your new bae.

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Photo by Kelli Haugh

Say goodbye to that guy you met two doors down the hall from you freshman year. Will he slave away in the kitchen all day to cook you dinner? I doubt it. Nothing beats coming home from class to a home-cooked meal that required (almost) zero effort.

You count down the days until your parents visit because then you can actually eat.

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Photo by Kelsey Douglas

I know I know, you missed your parents when you were living in dorms, too. But this is the real world now (kind of) and you’ve learned to become accustomed to a new type of hunger.

Yeah, your dining hall food sucked, but who would have thought you’d be an even shittier cook than that guy who f*cked up your wrap at the sandwich station every single time? Since you can barely cook anything edible, having your parents visit means a weekend of stuffing your face wherever they take you.

Visiting home means grocery shopping in your parents’ pantry.

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Photo by Grace Lee

All is fair in food and war, so go ahead and rob em’ dry. That 2lb container of Skippy peanut butter and the Costco-sized box of Captain Crunch will be riding shotgun with you on your way back to school, no doubt.