As a freshman, we were all obsessed with the unlimited meal swipe plan that let us walk into any of the 3 dining halls on campus to eat, grab a banana or even just look around to see what's in store for later meals. But sometimes, when you don't want the soy tempeh wraps at the Village Dining Hall or the cheesy quesadillas at Parkside, you've gotta go beyond the residential dining areas and explore the food scene around campus. Here, my friends, is a list of food stops at USC that you may or may not have already known about, but which are absolute essentials in your student life.

1) Nékter:

What goes with the LA sunshine and basic beach vibes better than a fresh bowl of açai? Nékter is located in the USC Roski School of Architecture and serves delicious bowls, smoothies and ready-made wraps for a quick snack that's perfect in between classes.

2) The Habit

Great sandwiches, great burgers, this is the place for anyone who's looking for delicious food on-the-go. Conveniently located in the center of campus at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, The Habit is the perfect meal for burgers that are surprisingly light, juicy and cooked to perfection. 

3) Spudnuts Donuts:

Arguably the best late-night food stop near campus, Spudnuts is a hidden gem that has captured the hearts of all true Trojans. Open 24 hours, Spudnuts Donuts is always there for you when you have a midnight craving that just can't wait. They serve everything from milkshakes to smoothies to cronuts to sandwiches (the No.3 is a personal favorite). Guaranteed, this place will be the ultimate late-night staple by the end of freshman year. 

4) Chano's/El Huero:

Ruhi Ramesh

Another great late-night joint, Chano's is one of the many nocturnal fast-food places that populate South Figueroa Street. Their Carne Asada fries are mouth-wateringly delicious and the line often stretches around the corner. On the weekends, you'll find many party-goers attracted to this unassuming establishment, craving their flavour-packed food.

5) CAVA 

Think Chipotle, but Mediterranean. With options ranging from build-your-own-bowl with greens or grains, or constructing your very own pita sandwich, Cava definitely satisfies the carb and protein part of the diet. Choose from their signature range of delectable dips such as creamy feta or roasted eggplant and pair it with their freshly braised lamb or juicy beef meatballs. Finally, top your dish off with dressing or crispy pita chips and voila, it's dinner. Cava is fast, fresh and efficient and every freshman will find that it is a valuable staple. 

6) Baked Bear 

Think warm, gooey cookies and rich, creamy ice cream in any sort of dessert combination and Baked Bear has it. From make-your-own ice cream sandwiches to brownie bowls to thick custom milkshakes, Baked Bear in the USC Village is the absolute BEST way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

7) Starbucks 

Would any list of food joints around USC be complete without this staple café? With four (and possible one more) located at all corners of the campus, it's almost offensive NOT to go in and order one of their seasonal signature creations.

So there you have it, all the must-try food stops at USC. Regardless of whatever food mood you're in, you're guaranteed to find something -- and guaranteed to call one of these places a staple by the end of your first year. Each of these places has a special place in the hearts of us USC kids and nothing beats discovering them for the first time. Ah, to be a freshman again.