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Wednesday, October 1, 2014 | Last updated: 4:11pm




Brown: Freshman 15: Whatever, just have another cookie




The so-called "Freshman 15" (the ominous 15 pounds students are known to gain during their first year of college) gets a bad rap. Our single-minded culture demands certain natural tendencies to be demonized, and this is one of them. Now, ignoring any larger social context-namely the rising levels of obesity in our country-I mean to propose that the Freshman 15 isn't at all bad. I would not go so far as to say that adding extra pounds is on my to-do list, but it is not all that bad.

The first year at college is, as we are all aware, an incredibly stressful and unsure time. We have new living arrangements, responsibilities, freedoms, choices and options. For example, we have the option to spend every hour we have outside (or inside, if you are the daring sort) of the classroom drunk, high or standing on our heads.Another option is not to leave our rooms except to go to class, and to stockpile food so we never have to see a living soul other than our roommate. Yet another possibility that college life affords is eating whatever we want, whenever we want, because Mommy and Daddy aren't there to tell us to "get the hell away from the refrigerator, dinner is in an hour anyway you gluttonous little brat."

Young adults being the generally lazy creatures that they are, most first-years don't get much exercise with the possible exception of the hike up Rabb steps (a journey which is conveniently trumped if you live in North Quad). The Brandeis powers-that-be actually planned out the campus quite nicely. One first-year quad is adjacent to the humanities buildings and across the street from Usdan. The other first-year quad is right next to Sherman, where the mantra is, "All you care to eat." Well, now that I mention it, I care to eat everything...twice. In addition, both quads are pretty far from the gym, which, by the way, is at the bottom of a hill, requiring an uphill climb to return. So basically, we freshmen have no incentive to exercise, and every incentive to eat a lot.

Friends, my point is simple: fighting nature serves no purpose. When, through no fault of your own, the odds are balanced against you, just run with it. Food is everywhere, and easily obtainable; exercise is virtually inaccessible.

Here's another reason why you should just accept the extra weight: As I'm sure everyone knows, whales, seals, bears, moose and other large cold-weather mammals have lots of fat to help insulate their bodies. And clearly, we live in a cold climate ourselves. So maybe the extra weight that we all put on in our first collegiate year is just Mother Nature's way of saying "you should have gone to college in California, stupid!" Or it could be Mother Nature's way of saying, "look, I just saved you $300 on some big, silly jacket from North Face." Personally, I think it's a bit of each.

Besides liposuction and anorexia, there is only one cure for the Freshman 15: building a gym facility next to each first-year quad. We really don't need Chapels' Field-grass is so last year-so why not plop another Gosman right there? Do we really need humanities classes? I don't think so. Raze Rabb to the ground and build it up again as Gosman the Third. Oh, wait, is that overly expensive and impractical? My point exactly: You just can't fight it.

So, my blubbery buddies, just live with it. There's no shame in being a little overweight, especially because right after college when we're all going to be trying to stake out our lives, we won't have necessary funds for food, so we'll lose all the weight we gained as our bodies will have to use the stored fat for energy. Just think of the Freshman 15 as a future money saver. It's all about the attitude, people, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And why don't you grab a cookie-you seem a little hungry.



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