“Wait, you ran out of food points…already?” is a common question I’ve been asked since I ran out of food points three weeks into the semester.  

As a first-year, I speak from experience when I say that saving food points is no easy task. From my love for Joe Van Gogh's chai tea lattes to my sushi cravings at the Brodhead Center, it has been hard to manage my food points. 

To my surprise, however, I wasn’t the only one in this situation. First-year Milena Osernova also said that since she spends all of her time on West Campus, she has been burning through her own food points. 

“I’m down to like $100, but I just don’t have time to go back to East [Campus] and make the commute to simply go to [Marketplace]," she said.

Tanisha Nalavadi—another first-year who shares this sentiment—explained that she must go out of her way to eat at Marketplace in order to "start saving up" on food points.

Although some students have a hard time saving food points, many first-years have managed their expenditure pretty well. First-years Hunter Kaufman and Jonathan Mengistu said they find it simple to keep their food points balance high. 

“All you have to do is pretty much eat at Marketplace all the time and use food points for very minor things on West," Mengistu said. 

And what are these "very minor things?"

On West this week, I had my answer almost immediately. “Very minor things” include coffees, smoothies, coffees and did I mention coffees? Eight out of the ten first-years that I spoke to confessed their soft spot for coffee expenditure. Some even spend food points exclusively on coffee.

Osernova added that it was "so surprising that people still have $400 left,” and I am very often left wondering the exact same thing. We’re eight weeks into the semester and some people have—very efficiently and non-humanely I might add—only managed to spend $100 in food points. 

However, for first-year Matt Logan, getting all the food he needs is as easy as going to Marketplace and Harris Teeter. 

“There’s literally no need to spend my food points on West," he said.

The $500 food point allowance for first-years is too little for some, but pretty manageable for others. One thing's for sure—I’ll never understand how they do it.