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Living Off-Campus: How to Feed Yourself And Not Die

Living Off-Campus: How to Feed Yourself And Not Die

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Freshmen, tragically still dorm-ridden sophomores—as any upperclassman knows, living off campus is awesome. Having your own place means no flip-flops in the shower and rolling around naked on all the furniture being naked in the places that your dictatorial Philistine of a roommate has designated “not super perverted or weird.” There is, however, a very dark downside to getting out of North Mid-Quads or whatever shithole you live in, and that is learning how to feed yourself. Yes, today you may curse Hinman’s batter fried Pollock, but oh, just you wait until you’re cruelly turned out to the streets and have made eggs for the past seven meals. As it turns out, putting food into your body without a meal plan is a lot harder and more expensive than it sounds. Like most apartment-dwellers, I found myself faced with two options: waste time and money learning to cook like a plebe, or cheat the system and somehow feed myself for free. With the superhuman drive motivated by not having to learn a new skill and saving money for alc, I finally figured out how to accomplish the latter.

  1. Declare as many majors as you possibly can. Obviously, you have no interest in declaring something as lame as Earth Sciences, but know what you are interested in? Pizza. Almost every department holds events, and where there is a speaker on Earth Systems in the Phanerozoic Era, there is bound to be food. Getting yourself on the listserv for every department guarantees that you will receive a heads-up for interesting and informative speakers free meals.

  2. Join every listserv. Almost the same as above. Yes, you will have about 200 new e-mails per day, eventually driving you to go off the grid and cut off communication with society entirely, but until then, you will always know what groups are giving out free food and where.

  3. Go to Whole Foods. Unless you are used to wearing, a top hat, monocle, and the skins of endangered baby animals, odds are that you don’t shop at Whole Foods. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their cuisine thanks to the godsend that is the free sample. Whole Foods scatters free sample stations throughout their store. Think of it like a freeloader scavenger hunt! Pro tip: Carry around a basket and throw in few items. It makes you look like a real shopper and feel like less of a shitty human for taking advantage of the kindness of others.

  4. Do Psych Studies. This one I discovered purely by accident. One of the reasons I initially chose Northwestern was because I thought that Kellogg made Fruit Loops and other delicious breakfast staples. Although I obviously was disappointed when I learned that Kellogg was not a cereal factory, only douches, Kellogg studies are great because sometimes they involve free food. Added bonus: as if free food weren’t enough, many of the studies are paid. This money can then be spent on a nice dinner, but if we’re being honest, probably vodka.

  5. Go to Starbucks, Pret a Manger right before closing. Rumor has it that at the end of the day, certain businesses give out day-oldie-but-still-goodie fare for a discounted price, or even for free! Cash in on this because otherwise they totally waste all the food by, like, donating it to charity or whatever.
  6. Scavenge. Unless you are a raccoon or from Portland, this does not have to mean digging through the trash since you probably have some semblance of dignity. Here’s the thing: people are really careless with their food, especially when they’re drunk. At large parties, help yourself to food in the kitchen. While wandering the streets on weekend nights, be on the lookout for discarded bags of BK. I once found a whole bag of mostly untouched fries outside of Shanley and only felt kind of sick after eating them. True story. Some people might call this behavior “dick-ish.” To these people say nothing, because they are absolutely right and what you are doing is lowly. Take as much food as possible and leave because you will not be invited back.

  7. Befriend girls in sororities. What’s that you say? How is sucking up to sorostitutes going to help get you food, all they feed on is Diet Coke? Oh hoh, my friend, that is the beauty of it. You see, all these sorority houses have personal chefs whose sole purpose is to bake cakes and Thanksgiving-themed dinners, most of which will remain untouched. That’s where you come in. Certain sororities allow their members to bring guests to every meal because someone’s got to eat all that deliciously high-fat macaroni. The downside is that you will probably spend the whole meal hearing about how much they love their pledge mom and listening to door chant practices, but hey, it beats an eighth meal of eggs, so you just go on stuffing your mouth with as many chicken lettuce wraps as you possibly can. Bring Tupperware if possible.

  8. Find God. This is a good one on the off chance that you have chosen to worship the correct high power, and she* consequently decides to rain manna down on you as thanks. More practically though, almost all the religious groups on campus basically shower their members with free bagels and whatever foods other religions eat. I mean, for all intents and purposes, Judaism may as well be called Foodaism and from what I understand, Christians have incorporated eating crackers into their religious ceremonies. Genius.

  9. Dates. This is a great way to score a free meal if you are a female and, unlike me, are perfectly content with enabling the patriarchy capable of getting a date.

*Yeah, that's right. SHE.

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