“I get the freshman negative 10, because of Corban’s hills,” said freshman Sarah Seibert, seen eating in the dining hall Oct. 14. Photo by Kenneth Mabry.
Sitting at an island of tables pushed up against the floor length windows, Sarah Seibert takes a bite out of her lunch: today it’s pizza. Tomorrow it may be pizza as well.
“My main three foods are pizza, pizza and chocolate milk,” Seibert, a freshman from Oregon City, admits.
The other students at the table smile. They know what she’s talking about. Exaggeration or not, Seibert’s cafeteria diet is more than often the norm for students living on campus.
The struggle to balance newfound independence with healthy lifestyle habits is often waylaid in favor of the enticing call of the familiar pizza bar.
Seibert is one student adapting to the different pace of life at college — including a different schedule for meals. Back in high school, Seibert frequently ate on the move. Now, she says, the preplanned mealtimes make it hard not to overeat.
“I’m eating way more,” says Seibert before taking another bite out of her slice of pizza. Eating away from home hasn’t been a big adjustment for Seibert although she points out that her choices at mealtimes aren’t always the healthiest.
Still, she isn’t too worried about gaining the infamous freshman 15. Her daily walk to and from classes pacifies any doubts she has about gaining weight.
“I get the freshman negative 10 because of walking Corban’s hills,” she says.
Like Seibert, from Day One, students are faced with the dilemma of what to eat.
Some, inevitably, “revert back to high school days,” foregoing a balanced meal for a quick fix of fast food, says Shannon Simmons, a human performance adjunct instructor who writes a weekly health column for the Salem-area newspaper, the Statesman Journal.
“One of the hardest things when students live on campus is making healthy choices…It makes a bigger difference than what [students] would like to admit,” says Simmons.
“Now is the time to create independence and form healthy habits,” she says.
Easier said than done.
As Becca Anni, a freshman from Independence, says, “There’s always the option…but it depends on what I choose.”
Fast food and sugar highs are second nature for most students. With fewer healthy options to choose from — and Mom not there to make sure — adopting a balanced, nutritious diet can be a challenge.
Tyler Anderson, a “sophomore and a half” transfer from Pierce Community College in Puyallup, Wash., is already used to eating on the go.
Working nights back in Washington, Anderson ate mostly fast food and a Cup Noodles to keep up with his hectic schedule.
Now at Corban, Anderson misses the variety in food.
“It’s kind of repetitive here,” he said. “It’s nice, though, to have food already made for you.”