When school gets tough, eat.
College students are notorious for having a tight budget. They spend their money on textbooks, coffee, and food. Whether the motives are comfort or survival, college students spend a large chunk of their budget on food. Over the course of the year, the eating patterns of the average college student adapt to the amount of stress they take on. The levels of college student stress gradually increase from the fall midterms to the finals before Christmas. Winter break gives students a small break before the final push to summer. The spring semester is where the college student is at the peak of their stress level. Not only is their agenda crammed with school work, they have to figure out housing, register for classes, or even finding a long term job. The Daily Runner has tracked the food patterns of the average stressed student over the course of the year.
First Eight Weeks: Panera
The first eight weeks are filled with excitement and a thrill for the new school year. Freshman are anxious to make new friends and get started on their gen eds. Coming in from the summer, most students have been working and have a little bit more money saved up. Panera is the perfect place for a big budget low-stress college student. The weather is still nice in September, making Panera’s outdoor patio a great place to hang out with big groups of people. Panera is a little pricier; however, they have a large variety of items on the menu. Panera serves salads, soups, sandwiches, pastries, coffee, and tea. Because of Panera’s large menu, it is easy for a student to blow through money here. This popular lunch spot is the perfect spot for a college student early in the year.
Second Eight Weeks: Chick Fil A
The second eight weeks is where the students are tested for the first time. Midterms just ended and school is not slowing down. The next major assignments are the first finals week of the year. By this time of the year, the average college student has spent a significant portion of their semester’s budget. Chick Fil A is a prime spot for both lunch and dinner. Chick Fil A serves world famous southern comfort food. They are the home of the original chicken sandwich. They also are known to serve nuggets, waffle fries, and milkshakes. For the frightened college student facing the first exam week of the year, Chick Fil A is a great place to stress eat.
Third Eight Weeks: Papa Greeks
The third eight weeks is the beginning of the final semester. Students are fresh off a month-long winter break. Winter break is usually full of holiday festivities and family, a great time to rejuvenate for the next semester. Coming back to campus, students have to face the tough reality of 20-degree weather and a brand new set of classes. The excitement of the new year has officially worn off. More than ever, students need real home-style comfort food. In the third eight weeks, Papa Greeks makes for the perfect place to find a home away from home. Papa Greeks is a small Greek restaurant owned by a husband and wife. They make customers feel at home. Papa Greeks serves some of the best Greek entrees and desserts. The location of the restaurant is less than five minutes from campus and can accommodate large groups of people. This is a great spot to meet up with friends and get a taste of the finest Greek food in the area.
Fourth Eight Weeks: Cookout
The fourth eight weeks are the toughest part of the entire school year. The final push is difficult for even the most tested students. Students are usually dealing with one of two scenarios: scheduling classes and registering for housing or trying to graduate and find a career post-college. Unfortunately, by the end of the school year, students usually have spent most of their money. This makes finding a great spot to eat comfort food that much more difficult. However, there is a Regent classic that will satisfy every food craving –Cookout. Cookout is within walking distance from campus, open until 3 a.m., and has an extremely large menu. Most people can walk into Cookout with a five dollar bill and walk out with a full meal. Cookout is a southern chain that primarily has southern style food. This restaurant is known for its chicken tenders, burgers, fries, hushpuppies, onion rings, and milkshakes. While this season is without a doubt the most difficult, Cookout provides a safe haven to comfort any student with an amazing assortment of southern cooked foods.
Abe Moreno-Riano is the Managing Editor for The Daily Runner.