The Five Stages of the Freshman Fifteen

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By Lena Goren

Stage 1: Joking

You arrive on campus, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. You step into the dining hall, surrounded by strangers. All you want is to fit in, so you pile your plate high with pizza, fries, and a burger and head towards a table that looks vaguely friendly and very freshman. You introduce yourself, motioning at your food and cracking a joke about how you can feel the freshman fifteen already amirite? Your new best friends laugh, because everyone is so awkward, and you scarf down those calories, pleased with how funny and clever you are.

Stage 2: Denial

Sure, you’ve been eating more, but back home you drove everywhere, and here you have to walk to class. You feel like you must be burning all that Plexican off just getting from your dorm to Tech.

Stage 3: Nonchalance

Meanwhile, you overhear people in your dorm asking if anyone has a scale to no avail, and you realize that you would have to walk all the way to SPAC to weigh yourself. You decide that you couldn’t possibly get there because you are too busy and have far too much homework, and you convince yourself that it has nothing to do with a growing sense of laziness. You start every meal with the phrase “fuck the freshman fifteen,” or if you’re one of those skinny guys, “I need to gain weight anyway.”

Stage 4: The Salad Phase

You start to feel a little bit gross, so you decide to start adding vegetables to your diet. One day, you eat a salad for lunch, but when you’re hungry an hour later, you decide that just getting leaves is a waste of a precious swipe. In order to find a balance, you return to your usual diet, but augment each meal with some baby carrots, or, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, the cooked vegetable option, chasing it with Coke and fries to make it go down easier.

Stage 5: Acceptance

You use defense mechanisms like rationalization and the intellectualization that NU students are famous for to convince yourself that it doesn’t matter and you would have gained the weight anyway, because you’re not a kid who can eat whatever you want anymore, and besides, alcohol slows down your metabolism anyway. You buy some bigger clothes to celebrate your new and improved, Zen outlook.

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