Living on your own in college can become stressful. Not only are you involved in your school work, extracurricular activities and a potential job, but you also have to juggle the task of caring for yourself. The biggest thing that college students have to adjust to when they live on their own is not having someone to go grocery shopping and preparing their own food.
Trust me, as a 21 year old I had to watch my mom cook all summer just to learn the basic skills. Before coming to college I did not even know how to tell when pasta was cooked all the way. Now that I live off campus with a very small meal plan, I have had to put on my big girl pants and learn how to prepare my own meals that did not consist of cereal and sandwiches. This included finding out which grocery stores had the largest selection of food for the best price, saving my money to ensure that I had enough money to buy food and then prepare it all.
Here are a few tips that I acquired through my journey of learning to take care of myself. First thing is to find a grocery store that works for you. In the Scranton area there are multiple grocery stores such as, Gerrity’s and Walmart. Both are excellent choices and have their own perks. Walmart is a good choice if you do not have a car on campus because using your Royal Card, you can take the bus directly to the store for free. Another perk that Walmart is that you can pick up more than groceries if you need them. Gerrity’s also has various perks of its own. Not only is it close to campus, but it also has a variety of sales. If you shop smart and take advantage of these sales, then you will end up saving a decent amount of money. Another benefit that Gerrity’s has is that when you bring your Royal Card and present it to the cashier you can save 5 percent off of your total. That, paired with the store card, which is completely free and allows you to participate in various sales, you can save a substantial amount of money.
The next tip is to not stress over what you need or what you are capable of making. A very simple recipe that can last multiple days is standard breaded chicken. All you need to pick up from the store is a pack of chicken breasts or tenders, breadcrumbs (panko works the best,) eggs, flour and some cooking/vegetable oil. This entire meal takes at most 35 mins to complete, including prep time. All you need to do is put the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs into separate bowls or plates. You then take each piece of chicken and coat it in the flour, eggs, and then bread crumbs and then place in a hot frying pan with a small amount of oil in it. From there you just let each side cook and flip it when it starts to turn golden brown, and then transfer the chicken onto a plate with some paper towels on it to absorb the excess oil.
The last piece of advice that I can pass on to you is to just have fun with it. At first, it may seem a little scary, but as you get used to it you will begin to experiment with more. Cooking is supposed to be fun, not another aspect of stress in your life. Some fun things you can do are experiment with sauces or spices, try pairing new foods together and even when your cabinets and fridge become slightly empty turn it into your own episode of “Chopped”. Everything you do will turn out well, and if it doesn’t, just laugh it off and try again. If all else fails and you don’t want to give it another go, find a friend to guest swipe you onto third floor.