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College marks a time of transition where students must balance school, work, a social life, exercise, and sometimes a job while living on their own for the first time. With classes, quizzes, tests, and constant deadlines, you have to wonder… When do middle schoolers have time to eat?

It is difficult to find a balance between meeting academic expectations and maintaining healthy eating habits. The St. Edward’s University campus offers several food and beverage options Pitches: Joe’s cafe, Hunting dining room, South Congress Market and the Grab and goat grocery store. However, even with these options, many students struggle to find time to eat.

“I find myself so busy doing my homework, my classes, my training for athletics, maintaining some sort of social life and sleep schedule. I don’t have time to do everything. I’ll be so busy working at school that I’ll forget to eat or eat afterwards because I can’t waste time eating so I don’t have to work,” said senior athlete Michael Longoria. “I find a good balance between the two. I manage, but I know others who struggle to find their balance.

The well-known term “The Freshman 15” implies that the average freshman will gain 15 pounds in the first year of college. However, “The Freshman 15” is, for the most part, a myth.

According to a study by the American Dietetic Association, the truthge college freshman actually only earns between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds. In addition, approximately 15% of college students losing weight while he was in college.

Many St. Edward students report that they eat less during the semester because they prioritizing school over healthy eating habits.

“I prioritize classes over good eating habits, but not necessarily homework. At the end of the day, I prioritize my classes, work and extracurricular activities before eating,” said junior Linh Nguyen.

Tight schedules often prevent students from eating during normal hours. The Huddle was once a hotspot where students could grab a bite to eat, hang out, study and shop. It closed during the coronavirus, leaving a less convenient dining location for campus residents.

Although there are plenty of dining options on campus, it can still be difficult for students to practice healthy habits with their schedule. (Kathryn O’Pella / Views of the Hills)

“Some places are remote so I have to cook meals and take lunch with me,” senior Elizabeth Alaniz said. “I skip lunch or try to grab something.”

More eating places would improve students’ eating habits since long queues take time off. “There is a rush for food and [Hunt] Dining room]takes forever,” first-year baseball player Jack Connolly said. “Some days I don’t have lunch because the queue is too long.”

COVID-19 adds an additional challenge by taking the time to eat healthy.

“As we have to wear masks inside, I cannot snack on food and drink during class. It gives me less time to eat because I’m always busy outside of school,” said a senior student.

It can be difficult to sort out priorities for grades and health.

“There should be break times around noon that allow students an hour and a half of free time where there are no class meetings during that time interval so that students can have lunch comfortably,” Lechuga suggested.

Since many students are living independently for the first time, the college years are the perfect time to learn about stress management and healthy habits. St. Edward Wellness services offers workshops on time management and healthy eating to encourage students to adopt a healthy lifestyle at school and in the future.

Bad eating habits can lead to serious illnesses later in life as well as premature death from obesity or eating disorders, according to the findings of the American Medical Association. College is the perfect time to take advantage of the educational support needed to make informed choices.