Last semester, when I was signing up for housing, I got to the meal plan portion of the application and thought, “Hey! I’m a grown adult! I can feed myself without a meal plan! Besides, this means I’ll cook more—great!” Seeing as how I know myself and how deep my laziness runs, I should have chosen better. But my general cynicism is laced with an inappropriate amount of sunny optimism. So the decision was made, the summer came, and I forgot all about this well-intentioned, ill-fated decision. This is the harrowing tale of what happened when I came back to campus.
Day 1: Move in! I’m a consent educator, so I’m here early. Moving into my dorm is a massive feat because I live in an EC townhouse and I own enough things to fill about three rooms. Thankfully, my suitemate and I are strong, independent, Columbia women who manage to muscle my three bins of things up the steps. Make a plan to buy groceries post-nap. Order Insomnia Cookies instead and call it a night.
Days 2-4: Consent educator training. Live off steady diet of Columbia catering and SweeTarts. There are so many SweeTarts. Vow to go to the grocery store. Every day. Eat one very dubious dinner at Hewitt (yay free NSOP meals!).
Day 5: Consent workshops. My students are all either too loud to shut up and listen or too over it to engage in a conversation. Typical. I realize I could never be a teacher and eat more SweeTarts.
Days 6-9: Madness of simultaneously prepping for school and savoring the last few days of summer. In the name of starting the year off right, I buy some groceries and a lot of sticky notes. I cook maybe once. End up mostly subsisting off of vodka and instant mac and cheese.
Days 10-28: Learn to adjust. Steal swipes from friends and realize that stolen JJ’s swipes are the best type of JJ’s swipes (chicka chicka honey mustard, Jamba machine wuddup). Remember the joys of a 212 sandwich (only to be punched in the face by the fact that I have no dining dollars). Eventually, finally go to Trader Joe’s and buy some real groceries. Cook. Meals are made, leftovers are eaten. Rejoice! Until Day 29, when I slip down the stairs and sprain my ankle, bringing productivity to zero. Ugh.
Right now, I’m back to square one, eating semi-stale cake, Lärabars, and Advil. Actually, this is probably worse than square one. This whole “eating like a grown-up” thing is much harder than I thought, never mind these blasted crutches. I feel like feeding myself is one of those important milestones in my adulthood, like paying taxes or fixing leaky faucets. Right now, I’m on the struggle bus, behaving somewhere between a baby and a geriatric patient. But one day, when I can walk again, I will prevail. I will beat on, boats against the current, or something. I will cook. Or mooch off friends’ meal swipes. But hopefully cook, because I am a goddamn adult. Until then, bring me ice cream, please?
Krista White is a Columbia College senior majoring in theater. Noshing on the Big Apple runs alternate Fridays.