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Sharing Suwannee Secrets: Making the Most of Your Dining Experience

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Whether you are an incoming freshman who already misses their mother’s home-cooked meals or a “tired of all the repetitiveness” upperclassman who simply wishes the lunch ladies would add even a grain of salt to the mush known as mashed potatoes, the dining hall can inevitably get old. Luckily, I am here to share the super not-so-secret tips that I have acquired during my time as a Suwannee regular over this past school year to ensure you get that added spice to both your meals and life moving forward.

the sauces

Starting out strong with my number one favorite hidden gem, the sauces at Suwannee will take your meals from “barely edible” to “overwhelmingly incredible.” If you make your way over to the vegan station (which if you aren’t vegan, may be a fairly foreign place), you will find that they not only have non-animal-product alternatives for plant-eaters but also a multitude of spices and sauces to add to your meals. Among their assortment of sauces, there is hummus, red salsa, and my personal all-time favorite, their famous “white sauce.” Now while I couldn’t tell you exactly what makes up this creamy gift from the gods, my best description would be a crossover between tzatziki and tartar sauce. Whatever it is, it goes perfectly with just about any protein (chicken, fish, steak, etc.) and even better on potatoes (my favorite pairing is with sweet potatoes).

the perfect dessert

Let’s be real: while the cookies from Suwannee just about never get old and are often the perfect ratio of chewy and soft, I am always down for a little change and upgrade. With that, I give you the ice cream cookie sandwich. Take your two favorite cookie flavors a few steps to the left where you will find the ice cream machine with your choice of either chocolate or vanilla (and even swirl if you’re feeling spontaneous). Fill up each cookie with ice cream and put the two together for the perfect ice cream sandwich available every day of the week.

For my less decadent fruit-flavor lovers, walk over to the Dole Whip station that is next to the healthy choice station by the entrance. You can either enjoy it alone or mix it with ice cream to recreate a refreshing orange creamsicle on a hot summer’s day. Either way, you really can’t go wrong.

the 4:15 hack/campout

Only have 10 swipes and a stomach that wishes the swipes were unlimited? Not enough options for your adventurous tastebuds? Not many people take advantage of this and it may not be productive for everyone, but if you decide one day that you never want to leave Suwannee, once you swipe in, no one is going to stop you. Yes, I said it: if you decide you want to camp out at Suwannee from opening to close, absolutely no one will say a thing and they likely won’t even notice. So next time you go into the dining hall and are trying to stuff your face with proteins and tons of carbs, slow down, get a table in the corner, pull out your laptop, and spend the day lounging in the dining hall and picking up food as you go.

Along the lines of this little in-between meal hack, if you find yourself bored of the options or wanting some more to choose from, I suggest coming 15 minutes before they transition from meal to meal. This way, you can get the best of both worlds and have plenty more options to choose from. Getting to the dining hall at 4:15 p.m. will ensure you have the lunch options and the dinner options that come at 4:30 p.m. $10 is $10, so you might as well make it worthwhile!

the new connections

Whether you just need a “pick me up” compliment about your newly cut hair, a short conversation about your exhausting day, or an extra serving of protein for that super-intensive leg workout you plan on doing later, you can’t go wrong with making a few good connections with some of the employees at the dining hall. When you are constantly surrounded by people your own age all day in your dorm and classes, the dining hall can be a nice way to engage with older folks and feel like you’re hanging out with your parents/grandparents again. So next time someone is adding the dressing to the wonderful salad they just made you, ask them about their day and tell them you really appreciate all they do for everyone every day; it goes a long way.

In the end, Suwannee, like everything else in life, is truly what you make of it. Sure, it can be bland, anti-climactic, and often less than satisfactory, but with the right mindset and tools, it can be so much more. Here’s to actively trying to look at the bright side of things and seeking out ways to add a little spice to your life. Everyone needs a little spice every now and then.

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Hi, I'm Paige! I am currently a freshman at Florida State majoring in Finance and minoring in Economics. When I'm not writing articles for HerCampus, you can find me reading everything ranging from cheesy rom-coms to "knock your socks off" thrillers, scrolling through Pinterest, catching up on the latest vogue articles, or rewatching Gilmore girls for the 7th time!