Bwog’s “In Defense Of…” returns with a look at a first-year’s worst nightmare: the Freshman Fifteen.  

Let’s get one thing straight: gaining 15 pounds doesn’t mean you’re suddenly fat. For all Bwog knows, you came to Columbia weighing 90 pounds: forgetting to eat and do your homework second semester senior year. You may have even skipped a few meals this summer in order to work on your svelte hipster big city physique. You can try to avoid it, but you will gain weight. There’s a lot of good food in New York City that you can eat. There’s also a lot of bad and heavy food you have to eat a certain amount of in John Jay because you’re a freshman. You really don’t have a choice but to relish your situation. Because not only can you have FroYo at John Jay before and after every meal, and Shake Shack on Columbus every night if you want (college! no parents! woo!) you get to complain about it with the other 1,499 people in your grade. It’s called camaraderie.  

Having perspective on the Freshman 15 is the ultimate case of the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” ethos. As a first-year with an oppressive dining plan you can’t escape, you are destined to live out two semesters chock-full of peanut butter sandwiches when everything in John Jay looks inedible. There will be many Butler brownie-fueled all-nighters as you try to remember how to write a paper, a skill you forgot when spent the majority of your senior year bragging about the college you were going to and watching TV instead of going to school.

So, OK, you’re a little chub right now. But look around you. Everyone you know is, too! And everyone is talking about it. Making friends is easy now. Hang out by the John Jay salad bar and find someone to commiserate with about the wilted lettuce, make plans to go to the gym (haha) with your new pal. Plan a Riverside walk with your floor after a particularly awful Sunday brunch, and most of all, complain. Nothing brings people who don’t know each other particularly well yet than sharing things to kvetch about. Welcome to New York City! If you stay here, you’ll be grumbling with strangers for the rest of your life: when the subway gets stuck, when there aren’t any taxis, when the city raises prices on something or other. You get the point. Listen, the Jewish mother in Bwog is worried for you. Have a snack.