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Dr. Strangediet: How I learned to stop worrying and love fatty food

Sara Warzecka
By Sara Warzecka
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
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Everyone's heard the crunching noise that creeps through the hall in the middle of the night and seen the remnants of Whoppers and Doritos clinging to the sheets. Come August, somewhere in the dorms someone will experience that first bite, which will eventually lead him or her to horror. It's the horror of the Freshman 15. And while some girls may shriek in terror, running to the bathroom to vomit or stocking up on their Diet Pepsi, let's wholeheartedly embrace that newfound cushioning.

While other universities have buffet-style cafeterias, the UA boasts one of the largest student unions in the country jam-packed with a student's every heart-clogging desire. Don't bother searching for fruits and vegetables. This five-a-day stuff is pure dribble. Certainly, they exist somewhere in the union, rotting where young eyes cannot see.

No, no, no; with burritos like these, who needs bananas? Freshman year is all about making new friends and joining in as many activities as possible while neglecting class work. The best way to do so is go grab a bite together. Walking all the way to Frog & Firkin or Johnny Rocket's burns so many calories there's room for at least a burger, milkshake, fries and slice of chocolate cake.

Then, when a freshman has waited as long as he or she can can before a test to begin studying, supplementary nutrition is necessary for the night's reading. Delivery is the best idea man has ever come up with.

Normal weekend meals entail yet another group outing. No one wants to use the communal kitchen when there are digestive adventures to be had. Tucson's cuisine can stir up quite an appetite. The money spent on weekend dining doesn't matter because the freshmen can make up for it by eating thrifty throughout the week. There are vending machines all over campus filled with nutritious goods pleasing to mind, body and soul. And when lunch time comes places like Café Sonora have lunch specials. In fact, they are so cheap that a person wouldn't even feel bad using that extra bit of money saved on some ice cream for dessert. At Three Cheeses & a Noodle, freshmen can actually afford the noodle! If the union is too crowded or the freshmen can't schedule their classes far enough apart, they can grab something to go at places like Panda Express. Do you think they really serve panda? That would be awesome.

For those early morning starts, every freshman learns quickly that the coffee carts are a one-stop shop for the caffeine addict in us all. Of course spending $20 a week on that early morning pickup won't cause any trouble and those empty calories will get the ole metabolism goin' enough to make a person hungry by lunchtime. Some people, however, require something closer to a true meal in the morning. That is why God created the McGriddle. And he saw that it was good. Actually it was just some guy working for McDonald's, but that's about as close as they come. And by they, I mean you. Apparently the mornings are so hectic and crazy that people don't have time to eat their breakfast piece by piece. So McDonald's made it all into one. Pancakes with syrup, sausage, eggs and cheese leave the freshman belly full and in awe of the miracles of modern science. At the same time, he feels a sudden compulsion: "That was so delicious! I think I could eat five. I can feel it adding to my hips and destroying my self-esteem with every bite. Hooray!"

With no mommy and daddy around to cook and feed him, the freshman quickly learns to fend for himself without ever actually using a stove. Remember, your parents don't love you anymore. And then one sunny spring day the freshman finds himself running naked through the halls of the union screaming, "I've found the maroon skittle!" which marks the end of the Freshman 15.

Sara Warzecka looks forward to the sophomore seventeen after having gained the freshmen fifteen multiple times. She can be reached at

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