Why It’s OK to Gain the “Freshman Fifteen”


Madison Pettway | @_xoxo_madison, Staff Columnist

For many students, moving away to college is the first major step in adult life. Many opt to go to school near home for the sake of feeling comfortable, not having to pay out-of-state tuition, or whatever the reason. There are also many who choose to move far away from their home, friends and everything familiar. People often downplay how drastic of a change college freshman go through, having to grow up almost overnight.

For the first time, everything is in the control of the student. Whether they do assignments or neglect them, exercise, work or party is all up to them. College can hit hard and all at once, and students often neglect their physical well-being. It is easy to pop into one of the Chick-fil-A’s on campus or grab quick food at a restaurant bar on the Strip between classes. It is also easy to get Domino’s delivered at 2 a.m. while cramming for the exam that was put off until the last minute. Everyone hears about the dreaded “freshman fifteen,” but we all think we care for ourselves so well that we will catch it before it happens to us.

Then one morning, the clothes you came to college with do not fit the same, and maybe you feel slightly more sluggish. Gaining the freshman fifteen is normal, and regardless of how it makes us feel, it is also okay. 

Students have so much stress surrounding their lives that many do not acknowledge. College is marketed as “the best years of your life,” and they absolutely can be, but the downs are not always discussed. No one talks about crying in your twin bed at 3 a.m. with $2.57 in the bank and an assignment due in the morning. Now, factor in social lives and working, and students are on the go all day. 

Gaining a few pounds your first year while figuring things out is perfectly normal, and it shouldn’t be as frowned upon as it is. What matters is that students do not let themselves go fully and completely start disregarding their physical and mental health. If you feel good and are happy, then ease into losing the freshman fifteen on your own time – or don’t. Either way is fine, and either way is normal.