Last semester, you had close to 30 unused meals. The thought of Ferris and their “firecracker chicken” makes your stomach twist in knots. We know the feeling all too well. But some people, apparently, can see the silver lining of the Columbia Dining situation. Hashbrown-lover Elizabeth Self is here to defend one of your waking nightmares: the meal plan.
Where I went to high school, when the cafeteria was open, you ate. Even when I went to boarding school, open doors meant “help yourself.” Imagine my dismay when I had to pick a meal plan and decide the number of meals I would need in a week. Who thinks that far ahead? I’ll just wander in when they open! Only I can’t. I’m set, fixed, no longer a free bird.
Of course I was unhappy to have to limit myself, and, of course, I made the stupid mistake of choosing the biggest meal plan available. However, upon reflection, I see that there are plenty of perfectly rational reasons to institute meal plans.
1. You get to enjoy consistently delicious food. It goes without saying that the food in the dining halls is consistently delicious (or maybe it doesn’t go without saying). I mean, have you tried Ferris pizza? If you didn’t have your handy-dandy meal plan placing obtuse pressure on you to not waste all those precious meal swipes, you might miss out on something exciting.
2. But not too much. No need to go crazy, though, right? If students could just wander in and eat whenever they liked, you might go so much that you’d get tired of our fabulous dining halls. I just can’t imagine what that would be like. Scarcity makes it a more valuable resource, so you continue to appreciate what you’ve got.
3. Get in your veggies. If you’ve ever cooked your own food or even just bought it, you might be tempted to eat junk food every meal. Not to fear, though: eating the always-nutritious food in our dining halls ensures you get everything from your fiber to your micro-nutrients each day. There’s practically vitamins ground up in the chocolate milk! And of course no unhealthy temptations are to be found, like cake or chocolate chip pancakes or those darn tasty rice krispy treats.
4. Nobody actually has time to cook. Really, though, by the end of classes you’d just be doing take-out and pb&j’s when you even remembered to eat.
5. Keep out the riff-raff. If students just had to swipe in to the building and weren’t limited to how many meals they got a week / semester, some people would constantly be signing in their pals. And, believe me, few things in life are more unsettling than looking up from your daze of a mid-week breakfast to see a whole table of people who clearly do not belong.
6. Nutella. It’s the main reason why I’m here. Do you know how expensive that stuff is in the store?
Baby about to stab you with a fork via Shutterstock