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Transitions, Beginnings, and How To Snack: A Guide for Freshmen (and other floundering souls)

You are no longer an eighth grader! To you that seems like a feat by itself, being older, wiser, and supposedly more mature than those middle school plebeians. How was retreat? Do you know the names of all of your classmates? If not, do not fret. It’s been three years with my 92 classmates and I know for a FACT that some people still haven’t learned. I write this to you, my charming freshmen, the night before school. You will soon realize that this is a habit you will get into: procrastinating until the very end to write an at-home essay, study for a physics test, or perhaps writing a Radar article minutes before its deadline. My main advice to you: stay off of Buzzfeed, especially the videos. They deviously link more videos at the end of every video, and I imagine it to be similar to giving a heroin addict a never-ending supply of his vice. (How did they KNOW that I wanted to watch “Gingers Get Spray Tans For The First Time?”)

Your teachers are your best resources. When in doubt, schedule an appointment. Yea, your librarians, the xLab geniuses, basically anyone with an email is probably willing to help you. Don’t ostracize anyone who wants to help you. You need all the help you can get.

Now that we’re done with the obligatory cringe-worthy introduction, let’s get down to the real meat of this guide (I’m so funny hahaha). During the summer, my eating schedule is drastically different from my school appetite. Perhaps it’s because I wake up at 3 PM or maybe it’s because I spend half of my waking hours laying on the floor of my room complaining, but I am satisfied with a single grape, a slice of leftover pizza, or cereal. But at school, I become a human vacuum. Is this true for other human adolescents? Who knows – certainly not me. Tell me if this is true of you, just for my peace of mind. For school, there are four key factors to suitable food: yummy, low-maintenance, substantial, and difficult to share. After two years of consecutive snacking, I’ve narrowed it down to these:

Trader Joe’s Just Mango Slices

These bad boys come in a airtight pack, and although they do have the texture of Birkenstock sandals, they are a treat that serves as a great pick-me-up during classes when your teachers allow you to eat. Usually, I have these if I get hungry during 4th. They don’t have crumbs, and are almost always hard to tear apart, so no one is going to try too hard to steal these from you.

2. Trail mix

We all have our favorite trail mixes, and you can make yours from the selection of nuts, fruits, and candies at your local grocery store. Make a large batch and keep it in your locker. This is great for sharing, but be wary of “friends” who pick out only the chocolate chips.

3. A reusable glass water bottle filled with your favorite cold drink, and lychee jelly

Lychee jelly looks pretty weird. They sell jars of it at Ranch 99, and it might look suspicious, but trust me, it’s great. Its only downside is its size, which is a half-inch cube. A little difficult to eat, but have it in iced green tea, coconut water, infused water, water, you’ll feel so environmentally conscious, you can enjoy the jelly, and the hydration will keep your brain working. I used to scoff at people who told me to drink more water, but it really does help you do better in your classes. It keeps you alive, literally. Sometimes when you want to munch, it might just be because you’re dehydrated. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But do what you want. You’ll learn sooner or later, as you see the upperclassmen chug from their water bottles.

4. Jackfruit chips, from Ranch 99

These are a godsend. Crunchy, fluffy, and lightly sweet, and they come in a medium sized purple bag that you can keep in your locker. I’m pretty sure I have made a lot of friends because I keep a bag of jackfruit chips near me at all times.

5. Mr. Green Bubble

Boba. Ask someone who has a car to bring you some. Pay them generously and tell them that you love them. Not the best boba that money can buy, but who’s complaining?

6. Roasted seaweed

They’re delicious, but perhaps not as filling as you would like. Keep a few in your locker for the inevitable light snacking you will do.

7. Guac & chips

I went through a phase during sophomore year when I only used glass jars. During this phase I discovered that I could make guacamole in a jar. Avocado with the pit, because it stays fresh longer, pico de gallo from TJ’s, garlic powder, salt, and anything else you want in it. Bring chips, and enjoy during the colder months when your locker acts as a natural refrigerator. 

8. This isn’t a food, but it’s very important to me: Trader Joe’s Facial Wipes w/ Tea Tree Oil

Use this on your arm first, to make sure that you’re not allergic, and avoid your eyes. I learned the hard way that you cannot use this as eyeliner remover. This is crucial for the stress pimples you’re going to have. Bad skin sucks, and makes you feel crappy. Just get these. I love Trader Joe’s. Maybe I’ll write an article about all of the things I like from Trader Joe’s.

Freshman year is different for everyone, and the only thing that is a concrete given is your perception of it. Be adventurous, but also be mindful, be kind, and be open to new ideas, new people, and your new self. Talk to everyone who wants to talk to you. Because let’s face it: this isn’t the stereotypical social hierarchy. These people will be your family for the next chapter of your life, and it’s always awkward to follow people on Instagram without ever talking to them in real life. And if you can get @dkojan to accept your follow request, you know you’ve really made it in the world.

Members of the class of 2019 grab a bite to eat

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