College is hard, grocery shopping in college is harder. If you've shopped as a "real adult" in any grocery store in the past few years, you know the struggle: too many choices, not enough time, money, or nutritional knowledge. Been there? We have, and these are the classic ten stages of a failed grocery store trip.

1. Anticipation

This is it. The moment you've been waiting for. As you walk up to the heavenly automatic doors of Trader Joe's/Whole Foods/Fairway/whatever grocery store you've been dreaming about all week, you imagine all the Michelin-star-worthy meals you'll whip up in your 100 sq. foot kitchen.

You picture your dorm-room fridge finally filled beyond that one box of eggs that's been there since the second week of the semester (which might be rotten, but you're too scared to check). You wave goodbye to your ramen-and-granola-bar diet, ready for something that has some semblance of nutritional value.

You're ready.

2. Euphoria

This must be what ectasy feels like. Your senses are in overdrive: from piles of produce to endless rows of mac and cheese, glorious food surrounds you. Everything has a place in the basket, even that $20 hunk of brie. This may be the happiest you've ever been. Like, ever.

3. Anxiety

You realize that $20 is two hours of work. Which is half that new shirt you wanted. Or a 30-rack, and it's your turn to sponsor the pong tournament. Do you really need any of this, you ask yourself? You could probably live on Clif bars for a little while; it's only seven weeks to the end of the semester.

You decide that you need to get at least the basics. But what brand of yogurt do I get? What can I cook myself without burning the house down? Is butter a carb?

4. Shock and/or Disbelief

Butter, is not, in fact, a carb. Also, your cart is over $100. Abort mission, abort.

5. Denial

No, you must have miscounted. There's no way that your half-filled cart will cost more than $30.

You also realize that your favorite chips are, apparently, 10 servings per bag. This is also clearly a mistake, because you ate the whole bag in one sitting last week, and you are not 10 people.

6. Anger

Everything is too expensive, portion sizes are too small, cooking is hard, and you miss your mom. You fantasize about ruining the perfect produce piles you once loved in a fit of rage.

7. Bargaining

"Are you there, God? It's me, a malnourished college student," you whisper.

You get a grip and reassess your purchase. If you put back the brie, you can still have the more-reasonably-priced block of swiss. If you buy the unsweetened cereal, it's okay to get that extra-large block of chocolate too.

8. Guilt

You remember that you still have to actually buy things to cook yourself dinner, and you realize that you haven't even started looking at the real food yet. Also, you promised your parents that you'd spend less this semester.

9. Depression

"There's no point," you think to yourself as you walk through the aisles with your emptied basket, picking up frozen vegetables and precooked chicken breasts with a sigh. 

10. Acceptance

You purchase your "real adult" food and reemerge into the light of day, accepting that you'll eat real food for a few days then finish the week on the prepackaged food diet you know all too well. You contemplate the feasibility of asking the university for a student loan to cover your groceries, and reminisce about the glory days of your freshman mean plan. You head home and begin to recover for next week's grocery run. 

Or, you could just order Spoon University's new meal plan powered by Chef'd. No shopping, quick and easy prep with pre-portioned ingredients, and convenient delivery—what more could you ask for? Sign up to get a free care package and be the first to learn when our meal kit is available in January!