by Maddie O’Brien
It’s a dreary Tuesday night in October on the Rose Hill campus. Your friends are all going to a drink up at Mugz and then to Tina Tuesdays. Your fomo is taking over, because you had to stay in to finish a ten-page paper on gender roles during the 1950s. You’re listening to Mitski, and a video titled “New Girl Out of Context Long Version” pops up on your YouTube recommended. You’ve never been more intrigued. You’re doing everything in your power to not write your essay, so you decide to get a snack. Chips and salsa – easy, your go-to. However, you’re not a real adult, and all that’s left are the crumbs at the bottom of the bag. Your jar of salsa is almost empty. You own one plate and one bowl, the 99 cent ones from Target. It’s the standard of living here, because living in Walsh is fake adulthood. You also don’t own cutlery and mooch off your roommates. You scrape the salsa out of the jar with your borrowed fork onto the plate. Unfortunately, on a time crunch because of the pressing due date for the paper you have, you just pour the chips onto the salsa. You mix the two parts together. Can this be classified as a salad? This must be rock bottom. My attempt at making this a shared experience was wholly unnecessary. The shame I felt just added to my level of down bad and forced me into a deeper spiral. This was a peak depression meal for me.
This night was sobering for me. I sent it into my group chat and was left wondering, am I the only person who has stooped this low on the culinary scale? Where have my friends fallen on this scale? What do they eat when they’re at rock bottom? I discovered that when my friends are down bad, they eat meals that would render Gordon Ramsey speechless. Allie, junior health studies major, said that she has eaten 60 second microwave white rice with Frank’s RedHot sauce for a week straight. Saba, junior philosophy major, said that she’ll take a handful of cheerios and then sprint to class. Let’s be honest, who is ever on-time to class during midterms? When interviewing people over the course of midterms I was told someone would eat tortilla chips with butter. I attempted to hunt this person down, but none of my friends would admit to stooping to the level of such a shameful snack. If you’re reading this, mystery tortilla chips and butter lover, you might need to seek help, because you are on a whole other level of down bad. Isabel, sophomore undecided, said that her lowest moment was microwaveable Paw Patrol mac ‘n’ cheese at midnight, because she could not muster up the mental energy to go to the dining hall. Hannah, junior psychology major, keeps it simple with an untoasted piece of bread with peanut butter. Shannon, junior nursing major, said she eats Cheez-Its and Capri Suns. I’m happy to see her eating all her food groups. Connor, recent college grad and finance major, said during his college days he would eat vegan corndogs. Clearly, finance majors have too much time on their hands. Anna, junior English major, touched a topic that no one had yet – the grip bagels have on college students. She said she always resorts to a bagel with butter, but bagels have the potential to be so much more. She goes to school in NYC. She has plenty of outrageous bagel combination inspiration. Graham, junior architecture major, says that he eats toast with a side of gummy octopi almost daily. I’m going to pray for him tonight. Morgan, junior journalism and fellow contributor to The Paper, asked “Does sleep count as a depression meal?” Clearly, we’ve reached THAT point in the semester, and it might be time to go home and beg our parents to cook us a meal.
While the tortilla chip and salsa salad was not one of my proudest moments, I’m afraid it’s not my most shameful moment. I was horrendously down bad, and I microwaved a tortilla which shredded cheese inside. No garnish, no seasoning; just a soggy tortilla with greasy cheese. As college progresses, I hope I can learn to focus on eating better meals. But I fear the next two years of my life will continue to be plagued by cups of noodles and microwave tortillas, or anything I can get my hands on inside my dorm to avoid using my meal plan.