I’m not going to lie to you guys, one of the scariest things about starting college is the dining hall experience. Especially Suwannee Dining Hall with its intimidating largeness that reminds you of the Great Hall. It’s the first real meal of the rest of your life (tad dramatic, but kind of true). It’s also the first time you have real freedom in choosing your own food. But everyone has heard the horror stories, and it’s about time some of these myths get debunked. Some of my best freshman memories were spent in Suwannee making bonds with new friends and enjoying hungover waffles.
1. You can’t avoid the Freshman 15.
So this is one of those myths that can totally be true if you let it be. Your mom is no longer forcing you to eat your vegetables so you have the freedom to eat cake for dinner and sugary cereals at all times of the day. But gaining 15 pounds is rare, and only happens if you overly take advantage of the cookie table at Suwannee. I luckily escaped this peril, as most will. Eating greasy pizza every day sounds like paradise in theory, but the reality is your body will let you know it’s not enjoying itself. By the first month of eating everything in sight I was easily making the salad bar choice on my own. Just trust your body and don’t overdo it on the pasta station.
2. Not having anyone to eat with (and caring).
The beauty of the dining halls is that you don’t really have to worry about the clique-y table situation that often happens in high schools. College is the time to make new friends and the best way to do that is to sit with someone at the dining hall, or catching a meal with some people in your residence hall.
I used to spend hours in Suwannee sitting at the large wooden tables, hanging with new friends and making bonds over shared French fries. On days when my friends couldn’t eat with me, or I didn’t feel like talking or dealing with people I was perfectly comfortable sitting alone. College isn’t like high school, sitting alone is not weird at all. Loads of people do it, and it’s a great way to get some solid people-watching in.
3. The food’s disgusting.
This is by far the easiest myth to debunk: the food is pretty amazing. It’s not your mom’s home cooking so don’t get too excited, but it’s not disgusting at all. If anything you have so many options it’s pretty impossible to not find something you’d like. Thank God for Suwannee and its endless pizza options, wrap station, and salad bar. Who could go wrong with any of those things?
Not to mention the ever-changing options that allow you to try something new. And hey, if you don’t like it you can dump it and get something different. Plan your eating around the menu too.
4. It’s not worth the money.
My mom was extremely worried that I wouldn’t eat when I went away to college. I’m a pretty terrible cook so this isn’t a surprising concern. However, there was always the worry that I wouldn’t get my money’s worth in the dining halls. I’m not going to lie to you, getting a meal plan is not really the cheapest option but it certainly is worth it.
There are so many options now too, with the level and price of the different meal plans. There’s such variety in the way you can personalize your meal plans now, you can fit it to your lifestyle and preference. Basically, if you make the effort to go and eat, you’ll never feel like you wasted your money.
5. Suwannee doesn’t cater to dietary restrictions.
This one, I can confidently say is untrue. When I was a freshman I was having some dietary issues and had to try the gluten-free lifestyle. One of my biggest concerns was that I wasn’t going to be able to find anything to eat at Suwannee and my meal plan would go to waste.
But I was very wrong, they had started to integrate gluten-free options for replacements like bread and cereal. This article can also help my vegan friends make Suwannee their b*tch.