Money burns a bigger hole in our pocket than flex

Why do we do it?

As a current student ambassador for Cabrini’s Office of Admissions, one thing that I have grown to learn is how eager prospective students and their families can be to get to the cafeteria portion of our campus tour. Typically, after I explain all of the stations of our cafeteria, a student or will ask me the following two questions: “Do you actually like the food here?” and “Are there other places to eat close by?” In response to that, I will proceed to tell them I do genuinely enjoy the food options that we have on campus. However, there is no question that you can still find me making a trip to the Wawa, Dunkin’ or So-Fun Frozen Yogurt on the Main Line in Wayne at least once a week, if not once a day. After having this repetitive chain of conversation continuously occur month after month for over a year now, I could not help but actually mentally ask myself why I do it.

“Why do I, as a college student, constantly put a hole in my pocket by buying coffee, meals and snacks off campus when I could use meal exchange and flex dollars for all of the above right on campus?”

Losing Balance

Somehow, from May to August, I managed to go an entire summer with subbing out all coffee, sweets and all unhealthy foods for fruits, vegetables and working out every single day. While I was in one of the most mentally healthy states that I have ever been in, all of my beneficial habits unfortunately led me into a very detrimental place once college came back around. I may have started off my year by writing my first article on how to eat clean and avoid the freshman fifteen, complete with a realistic and feasible meal plan for any colleges student. Although, one thing that I did not take into consideration both in my article and in life in general was that all of the free time, money and independence that I was graced with over the summer would not carry over with me into my school year.

Fall of 2016 blessed me with many things, from a wonderful group of friends to a new job at a Pilates studio just minutes away from my school. I also reinforced my academic mindset of saying yes to every potentially beneficial opportunity that life was going to place on my plate. Although my life shifted in many positive ways, my priorities uncontrollably changed faster than I could even take in.

Working three jobs on top of running a club, taking six classes and making time for other extracurriculars every week led me to start saying yes to the convenience of making Dunkin Donuts runs with my friends and no to making time for the gym.  One iced caramel latte with almond milk lead to another, and another, until Yosef, the daily worker at the Dunkin counter memorized both my face and my order. The fact that he would confidently say “cya tomorrow” to my friends after he gave us our coffee was comical for a while, until I realized how much these daily trips may actually be taking a tole on my life. This was also around the same time that my friends and I bought matching t-shirts from So Fun! Frozen Yogurt. Something in my mind finally told me that I had to learn to stop saying yes to Moe’s Monday, “No Weight Wednesday’s” for frozen yogurt, and Sunday morning McDonald’s trips, and shift my focus back onto my own independence. 

Regaining Sight

While I would never say I have been one to be harmfully affected by fomo, or the fear of missing out, something became harmfully addictive about both the sugar in my regular coffee order and wanting to be a part of every single off campus trip my friends decided to make for food. Although I may not have successfully cracked the case of why we tend to do this as college students, I have come to two conclusions as a second semester college sophomore. First, just because one may know how to eat healthy, balanced meals for consecutive weeks and months, that does not mean they will always know how to live a healthy, balanced life. Second, if your plate is too full, lessen it before your pants become too full, your wallet becomes empty, and your life gets off track.

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