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How to Survive College (Without a Ramen Diet)

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

Food and I have a simple relationship: it presents itself to me, and 9 times out of 10, I eat it. In all my 18 years of life, I have been privileged enough to never worry about the food on my plate, but as I’m now an official adult child, food is more of a trivial concept. 

At the end of last Monday—a day jam-packed with activity—I sat down and realized I had not eaten all day. To my rescue came one of the best features of my apartment: the full kitchen. I opened my cabinet first. Granola Bars, Boulder chips, and about 300 Rice Krispy Treats from the Will Vill Market presented themselves to me. On the lower level, there were easily 35 packs of Ramen (provided by my dutiful, caring mother). Despite my two shelves full of snacks and my infinite supply of Ramen, nothing piqued my interest, so my search continued. I ventured to the fridge and peered inside only to be greeted with more applesauce and pudding than your local hospital. Still, my stomach remained empty. If you’ve ever experienced anything comparable as a college student, this article is for you.

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Easy Recipes:

As someone who has done the impossible and burned water, it’s safe to say cooking is not my strong suit. But with some assistance from Pinterest and some advice from friends (who have successfully made dinner in my apartment), I’ve compiled a few simple and classic ideas for the typical broke college student.


Just like an outfit with sweatpants, sandwiches can be dressed up or down to your liking. My go-to sandwich begins with a few pieces of turkey, microwavable bacon, approximately two slices of tomato and every possible type of cheese in my fridge. Although they’re often forgotten and disregarded, sandwiches are always a cheap and easy way to satisfy your hunger.


 Similar to sandwiches, omelets are incredibly versatile. The only mandatory ingredient is eggs, and thankfully, they’re considerably cheaper than they’ve been recentl—allegedly due to Taylor Swift’s loyal fanbase after the 2023 Grammys. My preferred fillings are diced onions, baby spinach, avocado slices, microwavable bacon, and, you guessed it, about two pounds of shredded cheese. I decorate it with the final touches of chives and sour cream. Finally, my masterpiece is complete and superbly delicious.

Taco and rice bowls

Since I arrived in Boulder, I have developed a severe obsession with quinoa. Specifically, the microwavable packet of quinoa and brown rice, available at Target, is my favorite. With these, I combine two of my favorite foods, quinoa and rice, to create another one of my masterpieces: a taco bowl. My taco bowl requires two taco shells crushed up into bite-size pieces (which are very different than tortilla chips, might I add), a packet of quinoa and brown rice, a couple of pieces of tofu, sour cream, cilantro and enough finely shredded cheddar cheese to feed a family of four.

My Holiday Comfort Foods:

As the holiday season approaches, many of my seasonal cravings have resurfaced. This year, though, as I cannot live off of my mother anymore, my seasonal snacks are my Christmas gifts to myself.

Sugar Cookie Cinnamon Toast Crunch

When I began writing this article, I wasn’t 100% sure of the direction I wanted to take, but I knew I needed to mention this remarkable, limited edition version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. This cereal is so delicious that a few years ago, I left my mom’s house to celebrate the holidays with my dad’s side of the family, but when I returned home, a mysterious individual had eaten the entire box of my beloved and limited edition treats. To this day, the assailant was never indicted, but the crime remains prevalent in my mind.

Hot chocolate with peppermint whipped cream

This life-changing drink was recently introduced to me by my lovely roommate. At first, she served me a piping-hot glass of hot cocoa, and I was already eternally grateful. But she outdid herself by topping it off with the most delicious whipped cream I’ve ever had. This delightful peppermint-flavored whipped cream, also available at Target, is now a staple for my holiday season.

Terry’s Chocolate Orange

This limited-edition treat has been my favorite holiday classic for years. I will admit that this tasty orange is generally more expensive than I’d like, but no matter the price, I will always purchase it. Over Thanksgiving break, my mom and step-mom surprised me with chocolate oranges, and within three days of opening them, the oranges were nothing more than the wrappers they came in.

Meals With Friends:

One of the best ways to nurture your body and friendships is to invite your friends to eat with you. If you’re a student at CU, there are several different places where you can try new foods and discuss them with your companions.

Cosmos Pizza

If you live in Williams Village, you have most likely smelled Cosmos Pizza from across the street. When it’s late at night and the only thing my friends and I desire is some warm, premade food, Cosmos has yet to fail us. Keep an eye out for the days when they sell their enormous slices of pizza for a mere $1 each.

Cash out your meal swipes

Every Wednesday, meal swipes for students reset, so if you and your comrades want to put your leftover meals to use, I suggest stopping by any campus market or CU On the Run. You can follow in my footsteps and acquire a supply of granola bars, pudding, and applesauce for the rest of the semester.

Try every dining location

On campus, there are three main dining centers, six markets, three restaurants and cafes and three “Grab-n-Go’s.” If you and your friends feel that your palettes have become especially bland, there are multiple places to venture out and try something new. My roommate and I’s favorite spot is the Alferd Packer Grill, and our go-to orders are the chicken tenders, fries and a pink lemonade to complete the trinity.

Whether you decide to have a friendly feast or to dine alone in the comfort of your room, take time out of your busy schedule to sit and take a deep breath. Set aside a moment to ensure you’ve taken the time to properly refuel your body. Once you’ve done that, remind yourself that you deserve another moment to grab a sweet treat, relax and unwind.

Maddie Spicer

CU Boulder '27

Maddie Spicer is a staff writer at the Her Campus Chapter at the University of Colorado at Boulder. As she joined in August 2023, her duties include researching and writing articles and features to be published. At the University of Colorado Boulder, she is a freshman majoring in Journalism with plans to minor in Graphic Design. She initiated her writing career in high school as a team writer for her school newspaper, The Yahoo!. In the two years she wrote for the paper, Maddie advanced from an entry-level writer to the Assistant Editor and public relations manager. In 2022, she was an attendant at the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC) hosted at George Mason University. During this week-long program, she met students, faculty, and speakers from all over the United States, and Maddie recognized her fondness for journalism. Outside of school, Maddie is a relentless shopper and a self-titled fashion critic. She has established harmony between her passion for fashion and journalism through her articles: "Style, Spice, and Everything Nice." Maddie believes Taylor Swift and Megan Thee Stallion are her best friends and always has them on repeat. As an avid concert-goer, she devotes most of her finances to purchasing tickets of some variety. When Maddie is nowhere to be found, she is hanging out with her friends, eating chocolate chips, watching BoJack Horseman, or a strange yet typical combination of all three.