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Category: Alyssa Schiff (page 1 of 2)

Hen’s Kitchen by Carly Patent

As college students, I’m sure we can all agree on one thing to help us get through long days, busy schedules, projects, assignments, tests, quizzes, homework, reading, meetings, relationships, and everything in between. And, no, sorry to say, but that one thing is not Netflix, puppies, or the Starbucks in Smith, instead, it’s food.

We never really pay much attention to the effect that food has on our overall happiness, but I’m here to say that there’s something quite magical about an ice cream cone rolled in rainbow sprinkles or a slice of ooey gooey pizza. Oftentimes, college students, myself included, take for granted how important it is to eat right – especially during those weeks when your professor decides to assign a fifty-page reading in the last five minutes of class, when your calendar looks like a game of tic tac toe, and when you can’t even remember what color the carpet in your room is. Focusing on the elements that you can control – such as how much sleep and exercise you get and what you put into your body – is a starting point.

Living on campus the past two years, I had the luxury of a meal plan. Whenever I was hungry, I could walk the fifteen or so feet to my nearest dining hall, head up to a station, grab a plate, sit down, and enjoy. I never had to think about meal planning, grocery shopping, preparation time, or washing dishes. Now, however, having moved into an apartment, I now must consider all of these things – on top of my schoolwork, commitments, and activities. Knowing that I am not alone in the boat of college students who came to college with experience making maybe one or two items – scrambled eggs and toast, anyone? I’m here to share what I have learned. And with that, let me present some tips and tricks to guide you when it comes to making healthy, satisfying meals that are not only easy on the wallet but will make you feel like Rachael Ray or Emeril…BAM!

 

Plan Ahead of Time

There’s nothing worse than going to the supermarket on an empty stomach. Anything and everything will be tempting, and anything and everything will make it into your cart and back home with you. The dinosaur chicken nuggets? A necessity. A jug of chocolate milk? Can’t live without it. A family size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos? Ah, toss it in. If you write out a set list of exactly what you need for that week’s meals, you’re less likely to fall into the trap of a growling stomach. Before heading to the supermarket, look through your fridge and pantry to see what you have, what you need, and what you absolutely want. What really helps me, surprisingly, is having limited space to store my food. If I don’t have room for it, then I can’t buy it. Take a cue from Santa; make a list, and check it twice!

 

Make Healthy Choices

When living at home, it’s easy to eat healthy when your mom nags you to eat your vegetables! But, when you have the freedom to instead stock up on taquitos, waffles, and Easy Mac, getting your daily dose of greens might take the back burner unless you think wisely. First, read nutrition labels. I know that we were all taught how to do this in middle school health class and have most likely tried to forget about that time in our life – Juicy tracksuits, hair feathers, Axe, and Silly Bands. Knowing what to look for when shopping for ourselves, however, is important. Items that we consider “healthy” such as granola bars can actually be loaded with sugar. Taking the extra time to read the labels can help you prevent that Freshman – or Sophomore, Junior, and Senior – Fifteen. Second, sneak in your vegetables. We always hear of parents tricking their kids into eating mashed potatoes with cauliflower and zucchini in their muffins. So why not do the same? Throw a handful of spinach into your morning smoothie or add some veggies to your omelette. You can keep eating what you love, but with some simple switches, what you love will show the love in return!

 

Be Creative

While I consider myself to be a decent cook and an avid watcher of the Food Network, before coming to college, I had quite limited experience actually planning and making my meals. The first week or so, I resorted to making the same few dishes, and while they are still my favorites, as I got more comfortable cooking for myself, I began to branch out and try new things. There are literally millions of recipes out there to try so that you’re not stuck eating the same things every night. When I first made chicken – something that oddly enough freaks me out thanks to a not-so-pleasant experience with undercooked chicken – I felt like a true adult and rejoiced in my roommates’ praise for conquering such a task! I think it’s important to recognize that while the kitchen can be scary, coming from someone who has dealt with some minor burns and cuts, it can also be freeing. Trust yourself and your ability to try new things so that you can break free from the Ramen Noodles that are holding you back!

 

Treat Yourself

My final piece of advice for transitioning to the added responsibility of cooking for oneself is to value food for what it is: a story. Every time that we eat, we tell a story of where we are in life, who we are with, and what we value. We all have that one meal that is ingrained in our heads: a meal that we shared with someone we love, a meal that went terribly wrong, or a meal that we would pay millions of dollars to relive. Whether it is the taste of your mom’s caramel brownies or your favorite restaurant’s lobster macaroni and cheese, food has a transformative ability. It can help us connect with those around us. It can bring us back to a special moment. It can heighten our moods. The power of food should not be underestimated. And, for that reason, treating yourself to a nice meal – whether prepared by yours truly or picked up on Main Street – is a valuable act. I’m not sure that there’s anything a warm chocolate chip cookie can’t fix!

Food can take many forms, and not just literally! It can be a warm hug, a much-needed reward, a call home, and a memory. As college students juggling hectic lives and trying to balance everything that we’ve signed ourselves up for, food is one of the many things that we can control, and for that reason, it becomes much more important. For all of my fellow Blue Hens who have recently made the transition from meal plan to apartment kitchen, I hope this blog post has inspired you and made your stomach rumble. We have a lot on our plates, pun intended, so let’s at least make sure that we’re filling them up with something that would bring Guy Fieri straight to Flavortown! (Can you tell that my roommates and I have been watching too much Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives?)

Finding Joe Biden – A Series by Alyssa Schiff

For those of you who may have read my previous post about the famed Joe Biden: hold onto your hats for this second installment. For any coming to this post as the first story you may have read on this blog or by me, hello, and welcome to my tale of woe.

Joe Biden, hero of University of Delaware, has enjoyed several visits and talks here over the last several months. During spring semester last year, Joe sat down for a quick bite in our very own Caesar Rodney Dining Hall and was also the star speaker at his own event Biden is Back. In his speech on that cold, grey day in April he said, “When you see me walking down campus, don’t pretend you don’t know me.” Here enters my excitement, but today, my heartbreak.

During his meal in Caesar Rodney, I was blissfully unaware in Trabant – until I opened one Snapchat story, followed by another, and another. Next I opened Instagram and saw posts flow showing him shaking hands or hugging students. My heart shattered, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make it as I had class shortly and I was also 5-7 minutes away and kids were already trying to bombard him with pictures. This makes one missed opportunity.

Then this semester, Joe led yet another presentation at Mitchell Hall. By the time I knew it was happening I also knew that I would be unable to attend. After this event, a friend tells me she just happened to walk by after the event and just happened to run into the ex Vice President of the United States of America and was able to meet him and get a picture. Another missed opportunity.

And finally we reach his last visit just a few days ago, November 16th, where he gave another presentation in Trabant. At 10:45, after my 9:30 class let out, I walked unknowingly through Trabant to reach my next class. As I left, I saw the Instagram stories, the Snapchat stories, and the Facebook post letting everyone know of Joe’s latest appearance. Yet another missed opportunity.

I leave for Thanksgiving break disappointed and disheartened. How could I have missed it all? How could I not have had my moment on campus with him when so many others had? When would my moment come? I vowed upon realizing my latest missed opportunity that I would meet him sometime in my four years here. Joe, if you are reading this, please make my four years complete and find me.

“Loving the Classics” by Alyssa Schiff

During high school I took four years of Latin, and then I assumed my love for ancient Rome would die a painless death and that would be the end of it. I assumed fairly incorrectly, as this semester I took up the classes HIST341 (Ancient Rome) and LATN102 (Latin 2). Though Latin 2 was more of a review for the four years, it reinvigorated my passion for Latin, and Ancient Rome supplied a newly found love for classical history. After planning my schedule for next semester I realized that there were only so many classes that I could realistically take that were outside of my major, minor, and concentration. This became an ongoing struggle for me and I made several schedules trying to map how I could sneak in a mythology class among the other required classes I need. Continue reading

“The Biden Factor” by Alyssa Schiff

When considering dynamic duos, some may think of strawberries and chocolate, Batman and Robin, Beyonce and Jay-Z – but none can compare to the greatest duo in history: Joe Biden and the University of Delaware. Graduating in 1965, Biden has since maintained a close relationship with UD, typically making a visit several times a year. When I first toured University of Delaware I remember taking one thing to heart: Joe Biden graduated from here and that the likelihood of seeing him on campus at some point is very high. While Joe visited UD for the first time last semester at the coffee shop Brew-Ha-Ha, I was unfortunately giving a group presentation, and I was honestly devastated when I heard that I had missed his visit. I saw the crowds and zoomed in videos all over Snapchat and I wallowed in my self-pity over not seeing the (at the time) Vice President of the United States. When I began giving up hope that I would see him, a light appeared in the darkness. Continue reading

“Making Strides” by Alyssa Schiff

Coming into college, I imagined freshman year as the fifth year of high school. While in some respects maybe that has a grain of truth, I’ve found that it really isn’t like high school at all. In high school I was intensely aware of my dependency on my parents. I don’t mean that now in college I’m free and make my own rules and eat ice cream for breakfast and all that jazz, and I also don’t mean that I’m not financially independent and don’t need my parents. In this first year of college, I have signed myself up for a work study position, arranged appointments for therapy by myself, traveled between Boston, New York, Delaware, and Philadelphia, and soon I will embark on an adventure to figure out the T in Boston.

Growing up in a suburb I felt like a car was always the main form of transportation even when I took the bus or train to New York, but now living at college with no access to a car I have explored the endless opportunities afforded by public transportation. Megabus, Amtrak, and Dart have shown me the possibilities of travel on a budget and travel in a pinch. As I bought my Megabus ticket for spring break to Boston South Station, I realized how possible travel is. In some way, traveling by myself or with friends to different cities or staying in my friend’s college dorms has really made me feel like I’m experiencing the beginnings of adult adventures.

Checking with my insurance company and researching different psychologists in the area and emailing and calling has really made me appreciate the support my parents give me and also the strides I’m making for myself. If I could have had my parents do this for me, I know a year ago I would have opted for that, but now having done it myself I’m proud to be making decisions like this for myself. Making doctor’s appointments and checking with my insurance and verifying appointment times might seem like one small step into adulthood, but it felt like a pretty substantial leap for myself.

As I sat at my little desk in the mailroom at Willard Hall, I actually felt pretty proud of myself for seeking out and getting a work study position. It felt good to have worked for something and to have succeeded. Work study, as a distinct college position, made me feel more a part of UD in some way. Obviously making some money is a nice change and much needed, but the satisfaction comes from looking at all of the emails I sent in trying to make this happen.

I didn’t realize that I would feel more adult as I made more decisions by myself for my own well-being. Whereas in high school I knew I was lucky enough to have parents who helped me make decisions, this relationship has changed. Now I will call my parents to tell them of the decisions I’ve made for myself, and I guess this isn’t really a jump into adulthood or a sudden change into an independent person, but it does feel like a change from the norm in high school. I didn’t expect to feel so different from myself a year ago, and I don’t in many ways, but it’s the small strides that sets the person I was a year ago apart from me now. Admittedly, I’m only a freshman and have a long way to go, but I’m proud of the steps into adulthood I’ve experienced so far.

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