After a year and a half of Zoom classes, working from home, and barely leaving the house, finally being allowed back on campus has been so rewarding. I hadn't even realized how much I'd missed passing friends on my way to class or sitting in an actual classroom. Despite this excitement, I've definitely had to readjust to in-person college life, and I know others feel the same way. I've had countless conversations about figuring out the exact amount of time needed to walk or drive to school, or deciding what to do during a short break between classes.

However, one of the biggest struggles I've encountered has been syncing my new class schedule with my eating schedule. Without the luxury of being a foot away from my kitchen all day, I often find myself hungry throughout the day with little to no time to take a snack break. In addition, there is often not enough time to go back and forth between campus and my apartment for a meal during the day, and the added responsibilities of extracurriculars and activities have made it difficult to even find time to go to the grocery store.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been compiling a mental list of tips and tricks for how to balance school and good eating habits as I readjust to in-person college life, and I thought it would be helpful to share with my fellow college students who might be feeling overwhelmed, too!

#1: Always eat breakfast.

cereal, milk, pouring milk, bowl of cereal, Cheerios, breakfast
Jocelyn Hsu

I know, I get it. I was never a breakfast person either. However, I think we often forget that we eat to fuel our bodies and gain energy, and now that we're out and about all day, we really need that energy boost in the morning to get through the day. Even if it's just a granola bar or a couple of handfuls of cereal, eating a little something before you start your day definitely makes a huge difference.

#2: Keep a snack or two in your bag at all times.

holding popcorn, popcorn bag, snacks, eating popcorn, popcorn, fish, snack
Jocelyn Hsu

Sometimes, you just can't predict when and where hunger will strike, and it can be super distracting to sit in class with a growling, empty stomach. It is so simple to just throw an individual snack bag into your backpack, or make your own using a plastic bag. Even if you aren't anticipating needing that snack for the day you pack it, you will one day be pleasantly surprised that you have it ready to go. Just make sure to replenish your backpack snack supply once you get home!  

#3: Be respectful of your school and professors' COVID-19 guidelines, but make sure to stay hydrated!

juice, ice, soda, water, milk
Alexa Rojek

Some of my professors allow us to take a quick sip of water in the classroom, and some of mine don't, but either way, it's so important to stay hydrated throughout the day! I personally drink a lot of water, so it's been difficult to drink my normal amount while I'm so busy and wearing a mask for a large portion of the day, but we really all need to be consciously thinking about our water intake. Even my professors that don't allow drinks in the classroom are always happy to let students step out of the classroom for a quick water break, and it's important to take advantage of that opportunity and be respectful of the professor's wishes. Bonus points if you use a reusable water bottle

#4: Take advantage of eating during those lingering online classes.

coffee, tea, study, bagel, computer, laptop, cafe, bread
Denise Uy

While most classes at my school are in person, I still have a few that are online. This may be a bummer to some people, but there are arguably a few advantages of online classes, including being able to sneak a snack or meal in while taking one! Especially if you have an online class in the middle of the day while you are still on campus, make sure to take advantage of that time to eat. Many schools have restrictions about eating in classrooms that are both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related, so it can be extremely helpful to be able to eat and take class at the same time.

#5: Write down your grocery lists!

cereal, Aloe vera, herb, Trader Joe's, shopping basket, Market, Grocery
Caroline Ingalls

This one may seem obvious, but writing down something you need the second you think of it helps you to not only remember it for later but to also save time during your grocery store trips. Sometimes, it can be fun to walk up and down every aisle and examine all of the products, but that can be extremely time consuming, and there's not much time to waste these days! Instead, make sure to plan ahead so you can have everything you need and cut down your grocery store trip time.

As fun as it has been to readjust to in-person college life, the hectic nature of being a true college student again can be overwhelming and make you forget things as simple as drinking enough water or eating enough throughout the day. Make sure you're taking the time to think about your schedule and plan ahead so that you can be energized and ready to take on each day. It will really make all the difference in your ability to focus, and enjoy all of the fun things that we can finally do again. Here's to a happy and healthy first semester back!