2013 may not have realized it, but that cookout last night was the best meal they’ll have in weeks, at least until Parents Weekend or the next fundraising event. Meanwhile, first-years will be experiencing the first days of their new meal plans. To help out, the second installment in O-Bwog ’09’s advice series looks at the center of the first-year meal plan (for everyone except for the lucky Barnard students), John Jay Dining Hall.

Friendship makes it worth the while. John Jay’s culinary offerings may be, well, less than ideal, but eating there is probably your best bet at meeting your new classmates –- especially since you couldn’t pay most students to sign up for a meal plan Sophomore year.

Put your faith in Wilma’s Grill.  There’s a reason there’s a line. The burgers are solid, the omelets are delicious (the weight-conscious amongst us ask for egg white omelets), and the one-and-only Wilma is always friendly, helpful, and all-around awesome.

Using it for a date isn’t entirely far-fetched. It apparently worked for this couple.

Stay Away from the Hot Food.  Unless it’s fried chicken, or something like the Thanksgiving Feast, which is designed to make you forget every other meal you’ve eaten in the past month (aside from the next item). 

Go to theme dinners. The kitchen does actually put on a decent show on most theme nights; it’s one of the few times that upperclassmen consider returning.

Simplicity is a virtue…Even if the day’s actual menu sucks, there’s always pasta, the waffle iron, or the George Foreman grill (for sandwiches) for you to salvage a decent snack.

…with the exception of the Salad Bar.  As the semester progresses, the lettuce will start to look as tired as you feel.  If you’re going with healthy food, don’t be be dull about it.

Trays were better. Mostly because of the puns, says Bwog’s ancient Editor. He also started to add “Back in my day” before his dentures fell out.

Use Hewitt if you can. Especially for dinner. CC/SEAS student may not want to walk the extra few blocks in the middle of December, but until then, it’s normally a better bet.

Don’t feel guilty about taking extra food with you. The meal plan is a rip-off, charging you almost double the price of a meal at other on-campus eateries (let alone off-campus), but it does allow you to take food with you, so grab snacks for later.

Keep telling yourself, “It’s only for a year.” Repetitive, yet effective. And if you didn’t already, sign up for the smallest meal plan in the spring.