Transition Chat: Cooking & Eating
As students prepare to leave their routines and their parents’ homes, one of the most comforting and grounding elements of transitioning to a new environment that we need to get them to consider is food! Moving to a new location can be an alienating and challenging experience for anyone, but having some plans in place to address this one simple element of comfort can go a long way, according to so many of our alums. Additionally, there are some life skills buried in this consideration about cooking and fending for oneself. Ultimately, we want you to consider this question this week:
What are your plans surrounding eating and preparing food yourself?
Here are several additional questions and points to consider:
What are the options for campus meal plans? If you get the full (maximum) campus meal plan, how many meals per week are there? Is that sufficient for you? (You may have to wait to know where you are going to learn this information and/or wait until they share this information with you. If you don’t know your final destination yet, choose a favorite school and familiarize yourself with the meal plan options!)
Alumni Advice: You will inevitably get tired of your campus options, so be sure to know how to cook some comfort food.
Can you use your meal plan at local restaurants/eateries off-campus?
Will alternative eating options come from pocket money? Who will pay for those?
Have you explored what food options are available off-campus? Your favorite snack? Cuisine from home? Delivery?
Do you know if your dormitory will have a communal kitchen or kitchenette? Are there otherwise places where you could cook for yourself?
Do you know the difference between induction, gas, and electric ranges/ovens? If not, learn now!
Do you know what grocery stores are available? Do you have an on-campus market? Where is the store with the most affordable grocery options?
Do you know how to make simple meals? Choose 3 simple meals to master and work with your parents to learn. (Here are some suggestions!)
Alumni Advice: Take the time to learn your way around a kitchen before you leave. Boiling water for pasta, toasting bread, baking something…
Do you understand the basics of healthy eating? Of a well-balanced diet? (See this resource from the British Nutrition Foundation.)
Are you allowed to have a rice cooker, steamer, microwave, or kettle in your dorm room? Refrigerator? Is any of this provided?
Remember to still get exercise!
This piece is part of a series on “transitioning to college.” We encourage graduating seniors and their parents or guardians to engage in discussion on a weekly basis about these topics. If you have feedback or additional ideas or perspectives to share, please let us know so we can incorporate your thoughts into revisions of our posts.