This is the final version of the article I wrote that is to appear in The Lyre national magazine for Alpha Chi Omega. Thought you would all want to see this 🙂
Cooking: Life Skills That You Won’t Find In Class
by Torie Nicholas, BW (University of Toledo)
You might think that going through four years of college will prepare you for life after college, and that might be true for your degree, but what about for your cooking skills?
I was so excited to go to college after high school, because I knew I would finally be able to make my own decisions. However, I was surprised to find out that even the simplest thing as food, was already decided for me. I lived in a dorm my freshman year and, of course, with the dorm experience comes the meal plan. The dining hall food tasted good for the most part, but convenience was what was so nice. You didn’t have to cook or clean up, and you could basically eat whenever you wanted. This made my freshman year eating choices so simple, but also left me with no opportunities to try new foods.
As a sophomore, I moved into our chapter house. In our house we have a kitchen, but it is very underutilized due to the university’s meal plan options. Considering the lack of assortment I had experienced my freshman year, I thought it would be healthier and cheaper if I cooked on my own in our kitchen. I figured that I learned how to cook from my mom and I that I would really enjoy cooking for myself and my sisters, so I had no worries. I eventually began to use my cooking as a reason for sisterhood gatherings. I thought it would be refreshing to bring the new members and actives together in a fun and different way, so I decided to make crab rangoon for some of my sisters. This creativity in cooking brought us all together by working as a team to follow the recipe directions. Thanks to the popularity of that little event and the pleasure that the cooking brought me, I now occasionally make a fancy dinner for a couple of people in the house, so that we can try new meals and creations.
When I think of a typical college student, I think of someone barely making enough, forcing them to eat ramen noodles and macaroni for almost every meal. But this is not always true—the college experience can be so much more. Through cooking, my sisters and I are easing ourselves more and more into the “real world.” After graduation, there won’t be meal plan options, and without our experiences now, we would have to learn on our own—just one more thing to worry about as we tackle the life transition that is graduation to complete adulthood. From our cooking experiences, we are teaching ourselves discipline, use of instructions, and how to add a little variety to our everyday once the routine of work, family and life possibly sets in.
I am now a junior and looking towards the future. And thanks to this past year, I have already learned so much through my cooking experiences. These unknowing lessons are helping my sisters and I to get just a few steps closer to our lives after college and to become proud, independent and polished Alpha Chi Omega women.