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What I’ve Learned From Cooking During My Freshman Year

Living alone for the first time is hard. Cooking for yourself for the first time is even harder. I entered university not knowing how to cook but thankfully, I ended up gradually learning how to prepare the same heart-warming Korean food that my mother fed me growing up! Along the way, I learned a few things and established important cooking rules that I now live by.  

If you want good grades, make good food. 

There’s always work to do when you’re in school. Sometimes we can get so caught up in studying that we forget to eat lunch or dinner. But your brain won’t function at the same level of efficiency if you are hungry. So in between your study sessions, make sure part of your break is getting yourself to the kitchen to make something yummy! 

Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry!

This is a self-explanatory rule, but I’ve been guilty of doing this way too many times! I tend to end up running my grocery errands in the evening right before dinner. As I cruise through the store with a growling stomach, I grab anything that sounds good in the moment! The problem with this is that I end up getting way more than I originally needed at the store. One time I planned to get just a bag of spinach and carrots but ended up buying cookies, cereal (I don’t even usually eat cereal), and a bag of chips (we’ve definitely all been there). So making sure you eat before going out for groceries is essential! 

Be versatile with your ingredients 

Being the indecisive person I am, I don’t meal plan because I know I’ll change what I feel like eating throughout the week. Grocery shopping can end up being HARD because I never know what I plan to eat and what ingredients I’ll need for the week. This is where I realized the importance of being flexible with your ingredients: if there’s one thing you should master in the kitchen, it’s knowing how to throw together leftovers and random produce in your fridge to make something delicious! Looking for recipes that use similar ingredients definitely helps to get to that point. 

Even though I’ve familiarized myself with cooking, I definitely know that it isn’t always easy. But, getting comfortable in the kitchen helped me find a lot of joy from cooking my own meals and reaping the benefits of hard-worked kitchen labour. In between studying and working, cooking gives us the time to get our mind off the daily stresses of our day. As we familiarize ourselves with the workings of our kitchen, we can learn to appreciate the moments we take to nourish our bodies. So, what are you waiting for? Take a break and get cooking!

Grace KS

U Ottawa '25

Passionate about art, politics, skincare, and food! You'll usually find me reading, volunteering, or watching Friends!
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