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Meal Plan Vs. No Meal Plan

By CJ Cecil
On April 19, 2019

Photo by Scott Ketch

Everyone knows that when it comes to college, things can get expensive very quickly. You have to pay for tuition, books and living expenses -- not to mention all the little fees they throw at you just because. Should you save some money and cook for yourself or use the convenience of the cafeteria? If you’re a freshman or sophomore, the meal plan is your only option. But if you’re an incoming junior or senior like myself, and you want the luxury of living off campus, you have the option of a meal plan or not. So, let’s look at the pros and cons of having one.

Pros

Convenience. With a meal plan, you don’t have to worry about how much money you have to set aside for groceries each week/month. One simple swipe of a card and you have access to a buffet of various foods. As an athlete at Ottawa, which most people are, it can always be difficult to find the energy to cook something. If you get the meal plan, you don’t have to worry about that.

Unlimited Food. If you’re someone like me and enjoy eating a lot in one sitting, the meal plan is probably for you. The food is unlimited and comes in large quantities, so it’s a great go-to after a long practice or game.

Social Aspect. When you live off campus, you can fall off the radar in the social world. One can tend to stay in their house or apartment all day, basically ghosting on campus. With a meal plan, it is a great way to meet new people and maintain your friendships with people living on campus.

Cons

Price. A meal plan can be very expensive. The unlimited meal plan at Ottawa weighs in at a little under $6,000 a year. If you’re more flexible, you can buy the 100 block meal plan for a little under $2,500. Regardless of which of these you choose, they’re both still much more expensive then what you would pay on groceries.

Lack of variety. Let’s face it. In any cafeteria, the food can get old after a while if you’re eating it over and over again. It’s the same types of food on a daily basis, which can get tiring. If you choose to cook for yourself, this is not an issue, and you can cook whatever you’d like.

If you’re someone that’s looking for a convenient way to eat a lot of food and don’t care as much about variety, then the meal plan is perfect for you. If you’re someone who wants to have something different every night and save some cash, then it may be best to skip the meal plan.


 

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